eSIMs, Cars, and the Future of Connected Vehicles

eSIMs, Cars, and the Future of Connected Vehicles
With “smart” cities on the horizon, transport is one of the most important features to consider. Many cars now come pre-embedded with SIM cards that allow them to connect to the internet and to other cars. The transport industry is one of the early adopters of eSIMs, which are a technological advancement that removes the need to obtain a new SIM card for each change in phone service provider.

eSIMs and Car Manufacturers

While slots for standard SIM cards have been available in some cars, the environment within cars makes it difficult to successfully use a standard SIM. SIM and car manufacturers have to think about issues such as high and low temperatures within cars, potential exposure to different weather conditions, corrosion and constant vibration from the engine and road conditions. Standard SIMs can also only connect to a single network at a time.

eSIMs address many of these practical problems, as they are directly soldered into the car. That makes them more secure and resistant to the adverse conditions within vehicles. It also means that the embedded SIMs used can be specially manufactured to meet the requirements. Physically secure and able to hold user identification information for many accounts simultaneously, users can swap between networks and use the eSIM for different purposes without having to change cards.

A major challenge car and eSIM manufacturers face is having to predict the future and make practical decisions based on those predictions. We can make some informed guesses about what functions will become standard in future vehicles, but until advances like 5G rollout are available, the full range of possibility is limited to working within current technology. eSIMs give car owners the ability to adapt to future technology when it becomes available.

Future Applications

As the Internet of Things creates new concepts for a connected world, the possibilities for internet-connected cars become practically endless. However, some ideas are well within our reach in the very near future.

  • Self-diagnosing cars.
    Diagnostics can already be run on cars by a mechanic, but connected cars will be able to self-diagnose without needing to be taken in, and software issues can be remotely updated. Cars will be able to book themselves in for repairs if necessary.
  • Tailored Insurance.
    Industries such as companies that offer car insurance will also need to adapt. While some insurance providers already try to tailor their plans to customer usage, accurate location and usage information will allow people to be charged based on exactly how they use their vehicle.
  • Improving traffic conditions.
    In the future, smart cities will be able to interact with our vehicles and vice versa, providing information that can be used to improve how our roads function. For example, connected traffic lights can receive and interpret data about how the intersection is being used, and update algorithms to make the traffic flow as smoothly as possible. Your car could also receive this information and use it to make decisions about navigation, helping you get to your destination as quickly as possible.
  • Emergency systems.
    eSIMs have already been chosen by the European Commission to form a part of in-car emergency call systems. That means that all cars manufactured from 2018 will be required to have an eSIM that can perform emergency functions, especially in relation to breakdowns and crashes. M2M communication is an important part of making cars safer and more efficient.
  • Entertainment.
    Instead of needing secondary devices for things like navigation and entertainment, the car itself will be able to provide entertainment services. With internet radio available, will traditional radio survive?
  • Law enforcement.
    With specific, real-time GPS and location services, drivers can be held accountable for how they use their vehicles, which could include information about speeding, parking, information about what really happened in the event of a crash, and establishing alibi if it ever becomes necessary.

Possible Concerns

Security is a major concern for internet connected vehicles, as hackers could be able to access your car if security is not strong enough. That leads to serious concerns like potential hostage situations, dangerous remote operation of the vehicle, and many more.

Privacy and autonomy are also concerns for many people – your car can be tracked and located anywhere, remotely accessed and disabled, and all the information about your driving habits and locations you frequent stored and potentially available. Another concern is how ethical concerns will be handled – for example, if your car is stolen and you remotely disable it, causing an accident, whose responsibility is the resulting crash?

eSIMs are one of the components needed to make the Internet of Things a current reality in development, instead of a futuristic concept. With the inclusion of eSIMs in modern vehicles, another step to having connected vehicles operating in smart cities has already been achieved, and the possibilities are truly endless.

 

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Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.