Connected Car Weekly: Verizon, Nissan Team on Road Safety Solutions; Tesla Rolls Out Insurance

Connected Cars

This week provided at least three fresh examples of what can be done with the reams of data being generated by connected vehicles, including a new pairing between Verizon and Nissan North America’s Research and Advanced Engineering team. Under the agreement, the two companies have completed a research proof-of-concept demonstrating how sensor data from a vehicle and surrounding infrastructure can be processed through Verizon’s wireless network and communicated back to the vehicle for urgent driver notification in near real time, a Thursday (Oct. 21) press release said.

The test successfully applied a process known as “cellular vehicle-to-everything” communication (C-V2X) — to scenarios in which drivers may find it difficult to see vulnerable pedestrians or oncoming traffic emerging from behind visual obstructions.

“Communication between vehicles and the environment around them, or C-V2X, will be one of the most important transportation innovations of the connected and autonomous future of driving,” said TJ Fox, senior vice president of industrial IoT and automotive, Verizon Business.

Tesla Starts Rollout of Auto Insurance Based on Driving Practices

Another milestone this week came from Tesla, where vehicle owners will be able to opt-in to a new program in which the automaker remotely monitors their driving practices and shares the data to determine the driver’s auto insurance premium.

In announcing the launch of its telematics insurance product on Wednesday (Oct. 20) during its third-quarter earnings call, the company said the product was launched in Texas in early October and will expand to other states as it gains regulatory approvals.

“At Tesla, because our cars are connected, because they are essentially computers on wheels, there are enormous amounts of data that we have available to us to be able to assess the attributes of a driver who’s operating a car and whether those attributes correlate with safety,” Zachary Kirkhorn, chief financial officer of Tesla, told analysts and investors during the company’s call.

Employee Perk: Work From Anywhere in a Company-Provided RV

One tech company not only allows its employees to work from anywhere, but lends them the wheels and the office equipment to do it.

Supply chain tech company project44 is offering its employees access to company-provided RVs that are equipped with mobile internet and fold-out desktops. In partnership with “mobile suite” producer and operator Roameo, project44 team members can select their desired dates, pick up a vehicle and work from anywhere.

“At project44, ‘sharing the wheel’ isn’t just encouraged, it’s one of the five core values practiced by our team every day,” Jett McCandless, founder and CEO at project44, said in a press release announcing the partnership.

Automotive and IoT Cybersecurity Software Firm Dellfer Nets $8M in Series A

Dellfer, an automotive and IoT cybersecurity software company, announced an $8 million Series A investment from mobility supplier DENSO and specialist cybersecurity private equity firm Option3.

The funds will be used to accelerate the time to market for its cybersecurity solutions for the automotive industry, Dellfer said. The three companies noted that the automotive industry and other IoT environments increasingly require cybersecurity solutions to protect potential vulnerabilities.

“The requirement for cybersecurity solutions for auto manufacturers has never been stronger,” Tony Cannestra, DENSO’s director of corporate ventures and Dellfer board member, said in a Tuesday (Oct. 19) press release. “We tested a wide variety of available software solutions and found Dellfer’s approach to be highly valuable and a good fit for our customers’ needs.”

That’s Not Just a Truck, it’s a ‘Rolling Data Center’

Fleet managers are taking the vast amount of data generated by today’s commercial trucks and using it to predict and prevent roadside breakdowns and other mechanical problems. They’re doing so with sophisticated systems that collect the information, analyze it and share it through a portal.

They have a great deal of data at their disposal. Modern vehicles generate about 25 gigabytes (GB) of data per hour, according to Deutsche Telekom. This data comes from as many as 100 in-built sensors monitoring things like speed, engine temperature and braking processes. Those sensors produce 25 times more than the 1 GB of data per hour that Netflix says is used to watch a standard definition video.

Today’s commercial trucks also have sensors tracking vehicle uptime, monitoring driver trip performance data and logging fault codes, all with the goal of reducing fleets’ pain points, according to Zonar, a provider of smart fleet management solutions. The company recently shared this and other information about today’s technologically advanced commercial trucks.