My name is Stephen Longden and I am a Specialist in ITS and Telematics working for SBD.Today, I’d like to talk about the issues vehicle manufacturers are facing while developing their TCU (Telematics Control Units) and connectivity solutions.Before I do that, I’d like to explain briefly who SBD are for those of you who have not heard of us before.
SBD provides specialist, technical consultancy services to help you bridge the gap between the automotive issues, such as: cost reductiontechnical barriersquality requirementsand the market requirements, such as: customer needs market acceptance technology maturity
We provide analysis, forecasts, recommendations and data in three core automotive areas. The first is Telematics & ITS, in which we help our clients understand key market trends within topics such as Navigation and infotainment. The second is Security, in which we help our clients understand theft trends, evaluate the performance of security systems and improve cost of ownership. And the third is Low Speed Impact, in which we help our clients by providing design concepts, setting performance targets and developing pricing strategies.Our capabilities extend to the automotive markets in: Europe, Japan, North America, South America, Russia, India and China, as well as other key automotive markets such as Australia and South Korea.
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The Telematics Control Unit (TCU) is just one element within a distributed system of sensors, antennas and networked ECUs that form the electrical architecture for telematics. The specific architecture varies by vehicle manufacturer and modelVMs have to investigate the communications approach and data transfer method before finalising their TCU design
There are basically two different approaches a VM can take to enable connectivity:They can either embed all the communications capability into the vehicle TCU itself – I will refer to this as a built-inor embedded solution. Alternatively, the manufacturer can rely on a brought-in device to provide the communications capability linked to the TCU – I will refer to this as a brought-in solution.Both approaches are used by different vehicle manufacturers at the moment and, in the next slide, we will review in detail some of the options available.
Talk through the different connectivity options (animated slide)HFP = Handsfree profileDUN/PAN = Dial Up Network/Personal Area NetworkSPP = Serial Port ProfileMAP = Message Access ProfileLater on I will talk through the pros and cons of each option.
Let’s take a look in a bit more detail at some of the pros and cons of embedded (built-in) connectivity, where the in-vehicle system provides the communications capability.Advantages:Communications not reliant on an external device – no user setup requiredRobust, reliable solutionSuitable for providing safety and security services (with appropriate mounting location)No compatibility issues with different phones, Bluetooth profiles, etc.Disadvantages:High cost due to embedded modem and SIMRisk that embedded technology could become obsolete within vehicle lifetime (e.g. 2G switch-off)Difficult to agree contract with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) which provides reasonable roaming costs for all countries.
Now let’s take a look at some of the general pros and cons of brought-in connectivity solutions, where an external component, such as the user’s mobile phone, provides the communications capability.Advantages:Ongoing communications costs are transferred to the user.Can be a low-cost solution, especially when the brought-in device contains both the modem and SIMGreater flexibility for the OEM to develop their business model as a consequence.Reduced concern about technical obsolescence.Disadvantages:For solutions which wirelessly connect to the external device, this is not as reliable as a direct linkNot suitable for the provision of security-related services such as stolen vehicle tracking or remote door lock/unlockOperation reliant on the external device being present and operationalPossibility for some compatibility / network operator issues with certain Bluetooth implementations leveraging the user’s mobile phone.
These graphics are borrowed from a recent report we have just completed in this area. Please forgive me if a bit too busy and small text. But I think it will be interesting to look at some examples of what VMs across the world are doing in terms of the TCU connectivity issues.Some of the vehicle manufacturers currently using an embedded TCU solution for telematics include:GM OnStar – largest number of subscribers (just under 6 million) – standard fitment on a majority of their current vehicles – NA only.BMW Assist – available in many different markets – technically very advanced in it’s capability.Volvo OnCall – safety and security focussedPSA – Connect (eTouch) servicesToyota – in both US and JapanVolvo
Interesting to see BMW in here. Some VMs are offering varieties of solutions. Not just one. Problems with DUN/PAN as: Not all phones support it, network operators don’t like tethering, BT connection not as reliable/safe, danger of high charges for data use if user does not have a data plan.
There is no one connectivity solution that will suit all vehicle manufacturers, all market segments and all mixes of services.Discuss the possible solutions shown above – these are just examples and not general solutions!Volume OEM with a low-cost Bluetooth HFP solutionPremium OEM with an embedded solution.Furthermore, as the telecommunications industry moves apace, so new solutions may arrive at any time. We would recommend that vehicle manufacturers may adopt a modular approach to telematics, where connectivity is simply a component of the system that can be changed readily without impacting on the rest of the value chain.
In addition to deciding the connectivity approach, VMs need to decide on data transfer method.Wide range of options for for data transfer speeds.Options range from SMS (still used by many systems globally) to LTE.An in-band-modem (IBM) solution is a method of transferring data over a voice channel. Qualcomm and Airbiquity are two companies that have developed in-band-modem solutions.Key message – for automotive connectivity it’s important to keep our feet firmly on the ground when thinking about what communications bearer is required.The focus needs to be on cost, compatibility and suitability. Even SMS or IBM solutions are suitable for a range of services; whilst 2.5G technology (e.g. GPRS) is suitable for the vast majority of services.Therefore whilst 3G and 4G services may have a role to play in the future as costs decrease and the data requirements of future services increase, they are an expensive solution and the high data rates permitted are simply not required for the majority of telematics services.However, I am aware of a number of Chinese VMs (Chang’An, Chery, FAW etc) that have announced they are developing 3G telematics services.
Whilst using a brought-in device to enable connectivity can offer significant benefits in reducing cost and passing the ongoing costs to the user, vehicle manufacturers must give careful thought to the compatibility of the solution.This slide ranks various brought-in solutions against a built-in (embedded) solution at the top of the chart. The judgments are based on 3 key goals:Maximise the system compatibility with different mobile phones (for systems leveraging the user’s phone)Maximise compatibility with different mobile network operators (MNOs)Avoid ‘bill shock’ for the customerTaking each of these points in turn;The following solutions score low points for mobile phone compatibility –Bluetooth SAP – profile does not yet have widespread support from mobile phone manufacturersWired phone – software interface different for each manufacturerBluetooth SPP – needs a smartphone, penetration of which is still quite lowBluetooth MAP – this profile has only been released at the start of this yearFor MNO compatibility, the Bluetooth DUN/PAN solution scores a low mark. This is because many MNOs in Europe restrict use of tethering in their T&C and may impose additional data fees (bill shock) on users who are detected to be using their phone in this way, even if their contract includes a normal data plan.
Another decision area for VMs is Technical obsolescence – for example when will current 2G mobile phone networks, which enable most current vehicle telematics solutions, be switched-off?Whilst this may still be many years away, it is a concern for vehicle manufacturers because of the long life-cycle of a vehicle and the electronic systems within it. Therefore a vehicle manufacturer using an embedded solution for telematics must consider at the outset whether the modem needs to support both 2G and 3G for example.Consumer goods such as mobile phones have a much shorter life cycle and new technology will be incorporated into such products very quickly. This means that brought-in connectivity solutions which use the driver’s phone already offer some degree of future-proofing as the user will typically replace their phone every few years.
To finish, vehicle manufacturers have a wide range of connectivity solutions to choose from, however there is no single ‘golden solution’ and each manufacturer must consider each solution against their specific needs and the services they are offering. We expect that both built-in and brought-in connectivity solutions will be adopted by vehicle manufacturers in the short to mid term at least.Very hard for VMs to forecast usage of connected navi/infotainment by consumers so hard to build business model.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
Stephen Longden Specialist ~ ITS & Telematics, SBD 20 September 2010 TCUs and Connectivity for automotive telematicsTelematics@China Tour Guangzhou
Bridging the gapbetween the automotive industry and the real world
Telematics & ITS Improving society Security Reducing the cost of ownership Low Speed Impact
Connectivity options in detail... Built-in OEM pays the ongoing costs SIM and modem built-in User pays the ongoing costs SIM slot Brought-in SIM brought-in, modem built-in Bluetooth SAP to user’s phone Bluetooth HFP (data over voice) Plug-in modem Bluetooth DUN/PAN (tethering) Wireless link to user’s phone SIM and modem brought-in User’s phone Bluetooth SPP (side-loading) Wired link to user’s phone Bluetooth MAP (SMS transfer) Connectivity Barriers
Built-in connectivity provides a robust solution Connectivity Barriers
Brought-in connectivity is low-cost and the call costs are transferred to the user Connectivity Barriers
Who is doing what? – embedded modem and SIM Connectivity Barriers
Who is doing what? – external SIM and modem: Bluetooth DUN/PAN link to phone Connectivity Barriers
There is no single perfect connectivity solution Volume OEM Premium OEM e.g. 1 e.g. 2 Embedded (built-in) solution Customer pays for call costs Brought-in solution - Bluetooth HFP (data over voice) Low cost; user pays ongoing costs Easy for customer to operate Widely compatible solution Best communications performance Low data rates are acceptable Robust (safety & security services) Connectivity Barriers
LTE etc(4G) Fastest Slowest Communications speed – faster is not necessarily better Connectivity Barriers