2020: Why 1st-up, we need a Connected Vehicle

Andrew Sparrow
9 min readApr 5, 2020

What’s your smartest device? Is it your Alexa? Or Siri? Your phone, your laptop, maybe you’re wearing a smartwatch?

Well, if you drive a car that’s only a few years old, it’s probably THE smartest “device” you own. Next time around, just wait it’ll be even smarter: its brain will have been through many more miles on the road. It’ll be loaded with more sensors, more connectivity, more processing power and maybe even the ability to drive autonomously (level-3 or 4).

For me and several in my community, we see more disruption over the next 10-years in the Auto sector than has been over the last 50.

The revolution comes in the form of what some call CASE and some call ACES, but going forward let’s stick with ACES, as it sounds much cooler!

Autonomous Driving + Connected + Electric Vehicles + Shared & Subscription Vehicles

And today, we’re diving into what most see as the greatest uptake and disruptor right now — The Connected Vehicle.

The connected vehicle.

We want everything personalized and therefore connected. It is therefore seen as the greatest revenue generator for the Automotive sector above any and potentially the savior of the declining Auto sales revenue, with projected growth at 5x that of car sales. They say 30% growth over the next 10–15 years.

So, let’s jump-in to the Connected Vehicle world.

The communication highway

There is much procrastination over Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications and what “connection highway” will be used. While China has committed and gone purely C-V2X, the rest of the ACES World is relatively undecided between C-V2X or DSCR, because of availability of service and latency. Allow me to translate;

C-V2X: is essentially the 5G world, whereby the Vehicle communicates 2 everything and everywhere (‘X’)

DSRC: is WiFi dedicated, short-range connected

The argument continues for both however surely we’ve learnt over recent years, technology wins the battle each time, when it’s tied to the internet. WiFi is essentially the old technology and 5G is the new. I know the more localized the communication and decision making ability, the faster the response-time and from a safety perspective, in the near future at least, WiFi probably wins and maybe that can be enabled for this autonomous driving response, while the remaining 99% routes through 5G?

The debate and decisions labor on, while in the meantime, China rapidly advances on C-V2X.

V2V landscape

V2V communications is a network of vehicles sending messages to each other, with information about what’s happening, in terms of speed, location, direction of travel, braking and loss of stability.

[5G, by the way will also enable Vehicle to Consumer communications at scale (even thought Tesla is already doing it with its parking summon functionality)]

Then comes V2I, whereby your vehicle is communicating with the Infrastructure. You know lights, road works etc

a world where every vehicle is a connected vehicle

The connected vehicle opportunities

Connected cars generate data about how and where they are used and who is behind the wheel. As usage for shared mobility, powertrain electrification, car autonomy, and vehicle connectivity grows, the amount of data collected from vehicles will rise exponentially. This presents opportunities for companies in the automotive ecosystem to monetize data.

1st there’s the connection to the Cloud that you can buy today an OBD connector for most vehicles post 1996 or new vehicles come ready to go. 2nd up, is the Service Plan (like your typical mobile device) and then it’s all about the Apps & Services you get included or have to purchase on top.

Connected Vehicle monetization

And here’s the monetization for Automakers or whoever gets in on the act:

  • Insurance based upon usage — imagine pre or post paid monthly insurance, based upon usage?
  • Real-time parking availability notification and again pre or post paid
  • Maintenance monitoring, which is of course nothing new, however with more software-centric design and electric powered vehicles, the easier remote maintenance will be, using 5G
  • Personalization — pick-up where you left-off! Whatever you were doing in your home or in your office, your car will seamlessly pick-up upon entry
  • Purchasing agility — going somewhere, you’ll either remember what you need or your car will remind you and direct you to its most convenient location, based upon your calendar. It’ll make the purchase and away you go

and then there’s safety

All this considered, one of the greatest benefits of connectivity is the potential reduction in accidents and loss of life, care of RTAs. An estimated 1,200,000 die each year on our roads

V2V technology is the next generation of auto safety improvements that potentially warn drivers about dangerous situations that could lead to a crash. The 1st gen V2V warnings may come in the form of a driver alert (flashing red light, maybe with the threat direction). 2nd, a warning that a vehicle up ahead is braking and you need to slow down. You’ll be able to see, hear and even feel the hazard signals through vibration of the seat.

connected vehicle data redefines how we will move

The Connected Vehicle impact

The more data fed from the vehicle brings potentially more intelligence in so many ways from the macro to micro impacts, from the enhanced personalization and better still for the greater sustainability of our planet.

Long-term planning

The more we know about how we move as humans, the better we can plan our future mobility infrastructure for efficiency of travel.

Highway geometrics

Much of our road layouts, intersections/junctions and control signals/light have been based on our human characteristics and behaviors. As autonomy comes in and starts to take over, roads will be designed based on sensor and AI behaviors.

Highway safety

Already sensors even on highways give 10 second warnings of events up ahead that allow vehicles to adjust to immediate future danger communicated V2V, thus addressing 81% of unimpaired driver crashes. Highway crashes can be reduced when vehicles can sense and communicate the hazards around them.

Keep on moving

Each year around the world, we waste billions upon billions of hours stuck in avoidable traffic. V2V mobility applications will enable system users and system operators to make smart choices to reduce delay through providing actionable information and tools to affect the performance of transportation system in real-time.

everyone and everything has technology at our fingertips

The challenges

The challenges all center around the car manufacturers adaptation to being a truly customer-centric business. With that platform, it’s the understanding that they’ve technology/software at the center of everything they do.

This is why the two forces of the traditional automotive manufacturers are colliding with the tech-centered automotive start-ups. It’ll be fascinating to see which ones come through as the dominant players over the years to come.

In the meantime they toil with:

Which one upgrades quicker? The car or smartphone?

For me, it’s one and the same. Right now, however the automotive industry thinks in five year cycles!


Automotive manufacturers are scrambling for the right partners or they’re going it alone, be that across Networks, Cloud, their OS and Applications. Yes, the network (the highways are essential), however isn’t the Operating System the greatest focus? As the applications will come, care of the network effect.

The automotive manufacturers were our old OS of the roads and so the transition to controlling the OS is somewhat evolutionary for them.

Sales Distribution

I remember as a kid, I did a little weekend work in a car dealership and I had to learn the entire manual of the cars I was there to help sell. Imagine now, the dealerships (what remains of them…..that’s an entirely different conversation!) have to have salespeople who can 100% educate buyers on how to use their car’s tech.

The new generation

Who wants to own an asset that depreciates? The proportion is reducing every year that passes. I spent several years developing real estate and saw the success of fractional ownership, not because it was a partial ownership model, but because it gave people the ability to use when they wanted it, to know someone else maintained it and that they could enjoy the flexibility to use other places around the world (variable experiences). It was no more expensive than buying a 2nd home.

The difference with a vehicle, when you apply the Total Cost of Ownership to a shared vehicle versus owned, is starting to make more sense to the younger generation.

The status perception is less about what you “drive” and more about what you’ve experienced on our planet!

Who will pay?

It gets real interesting as to how this will “play out”. Buying the car + services? Or subscribing to them all?

The consumer will shop around and so the market will ultimately define it

Macro drivers & micro solutions

The traditional automotive revenues have flattened, even considering the rapidly emerging economies around the world and them selling the aspirational vision of 1st up, buy a nice car!

The growth in the future is going to come from the combination of the ACES. It’s new technologies, it’s new business models. If you recognize that, then we would say there’s a few things that they need to consider, which are very different than how the industry has historically operated.

What’s going to matter most to the consumer? How will you monetize this massive amount of data coming yours or via your partners?

The connected vehicle is a computer on wheels

This is now a computer on wheels (then there’s the flying car, but let’s not go there right now). The amount of software content in the car is going to triple in the next 15 years. To be able to get that software developed is going to require a massive increase in the number of software engineers.

Re-design with a changing workforce & approach

As a provider of the platform and skills to design and engineering, it’s something I think about each day. We need to be training, mentoring and promoting the exciting world that lies ahead for the Automotive 4.0 ACES world.

It’s an Agile development world, built upon that’s been historically slow and Waterfall!

Agile is typically about two and a half times more productive and about two times faster than the waterfall-based approach.

In the automotive industry, however, the challenge is how to take a linear, sequential product-development approach the industry has developed for the last 100 years and combine that with a model like Agile which is much more rapid, much more iterative.

I can’t wait and am very excited to be part of an amazing journey for each one of us in finding better ways to get around this word and experience new cultures, landscapes and people.


I’m Andrew Sparrow, a bit a 4IR nut and one passionate to bring through the Autonomous Vehicle at the earliest opportunity!

I drive Product Innovation & Optimization projects for companies using cutting-edge tech & software solutions to keep them at the forefront of the customer-centric 4IR

I blog, vlog & podcast passionately about our need to innovate & thrive, about managing the product lifecycle (PLM) & ever improving smarter manufacturing (MES/MOM/Digital Manufacturing). I love working with innovative clients and customers helping deliver great products.

I love & thrive in working with some of the world’s largest companies such as Airbus, Capgemini, Dassault Systemes, Ericsson, JLR, TOTAL, Siemens, Sony, Subsea7 & Unilever, to name a few

I’m a big people-person & have spent my life meeting as many people & cultures as I can. At my last count, I am lucky enough to have visited & done business in over 55 countries

#4IR #3DEXPERIENCE #Auto40 #automotive40 #aces #connectedvehicle #catia #solidworks #delmia #enovia



Andrew Sparrow

Engineering & Implementation Resources/Solutions in Product Lifecycle & Smart Manufacturing - Shows, Blogs, Vlogs, Podcasts for the Future World