On this podcast episode, we learn about the history of telematics, the role telematics play in the evolution of connected vehicles and the up-and-coming automotive trend of Vehicle to Everything (V2X).

Hope Bovenzi, General Manager of Automotive Infotainment at Texas Instruments, sits down with the IoT For All team to explain telematics, its history and the role it plays in bringing society closer to autonomous driving. We discuss the evolution of connected vehicles, the upcoming trends in telematics (V2X) and break down the varying levels of autonomy when it comes to cars, including the challenges for each level to become reality.

We wrap up the episode with our #AskIoT segment where Hope provides insight into the impact of 5G on connected cars and the hindrances to autonomous cars going mainstream. Finally, Hope discusses her involvement in STEM education for young girls and empowering young women to pursue roles in the tech industry.

#AskIoT Questions:

  • How will 5G impact the connected car industry?
  • If autonomous cars come to fruition, what role will the driver play?
  • What other technologies, not including 5G, will have the greatest impact on the automotive space?
  • What are the biggest hindrances to autonomous cars going mainstream?

If you’re interested in connecting with Hope, you can find her on LinkedIn!

This episode was recorded prior to Hope’s promotion from Automotive Systems Engineer to General Manager of Automotive Infotainment. Congratulations, Hope!


– [Announcer] You are listening to the IoT For All Media Network.

– [Ryan] Hello everyone. And welcome to another episode of the IoT For All podcast, on the IoT For All Media Network. I’m your host, Ryan Chacone, one of the co-creators of IoT For All. Now, before we jump into this episode, please don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform, or join our newsletter at IoTforall.com/newsletter and catch all the newest episodes as soon as they come out. So without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All podcast. Welcome to the IoT For All podcast, Hope. Thanks for being on the show with us today.

– [Hope] Thank you guys, I’m excited.

– [Ryan] Great, great. I’m joined with my cohost Calum McClelland, who runs the operations of IoT For All and is one of our most prominent writers. Say ‘hi’, Calum.

– [Calum] Hi, everyone.

– [Ryan] There you go. All right, Hope. So, I think the best way to kind of start this off would be if you could take a moment to kind of introduce yourself to the audience, give a little insight into who you are, and what you do for Texas Instruments.

– Yeah, so like you said, my name’s Hope Bovenzi. I am an automotive systems engineer at Texas Instruments. I think a lot of people think of Texas Instruments, if you’re not in the industry, as the guys who do calculators. We do a lot more than that. We’re actually a semiconductor company. So we build all the little microchips, integrated circuits that go into every single one of your electronic devices. And I particularly focus on automotive systems, and within that, telematics, which is essentially the connectivity of the car. And I build reference designs that help our customers at top Tier 1’s and OEMs help accelerate their design process, especially for infotainment systems and telematics systems in their cars.

– [Ryan] Could you break down, or more detail about what like telematics is? I mean, it’s a term that I think a lot know-

– [Hope] Yeah.

– [Ryan] Who probably get it right off the bat, but I think there’s a lot of people who’ve probably heard of telematics, especially when it comes to connected car and autonomous vehicles. But can you break it down to kind of layman’s terms? So people could kind of grasp like, “Oh, I get what that means,” when they kind of hear the explanation?

– [Hope] Right. Yeah, telematics essentially making your car an IoT device, if I were to really break it down. Telematics is the common term in the automotive industry. And it really started, if you think about the evolution, started with emergency calling, which is a mandated legislative measure in the European Union now, starting, actually, almost a year ago, where all new cars had to have emergency calling features in a new car sold. And it started off like that about 10 years ago. And then slowly you started putting more connected things into it, like GPS.

– [Ryan] Right.

– [Hope] So not only is it a cell phone anymore. It’s got a cell phone and GPS. And its just kind of snowballed from there . There’s so many aspects of connectivity that are in the car today, or being designed into cars today. And that’s what telematics really encompasses.

– [Ryan] So, I guess when you’re kind of going back to the start of telematics, I mean, that’s when they’re putting in connectivity into the car for the first time. Not just obviously the service, but that’s like putting in a cellular connectivity or some way that they can contact.

– Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] And is that kind of what led, I guess, maybe people here are more familiar with things like OnStar and that kind of device?

– [Hope] You got it.

– [Ryan] Okay.

– You hit the nail on the head.

– Okay.

– [Hope] OnStar is GM’s version of telematics or emergency calling.

– [Ryan] Okay.

– [Hope] And they were actually kind of ahead of the times, which is funny because the mandate for emergency calling actually happened and in the European Union.

– [Ryan] Gotcha.

– [Hope] So, yeah, most people know OnStar. That’s probably the most tangible thing here in the United States. But around the world there are different versions of that, even across different OEMs or automotive manufacturers. They call it different things, so , that’s what telematics is.

– [Calum] Yeah, so when it comes to telematics, I think most people can think about things like OnStar or using a GPS navigation within their vehicles. What are some other examples of telematics, that are really valuable, that are in use today, that people might not be as familiar with?

– [Hope] Oh my gosh. It’s something that’s so exciting in the industry right now, because we we call it the connected car. I think you guys mentioned it already. But the connected car, it’s just adding connectivity, any sort of connectivity, and just more and more of it, into the car. So yeah, it started as a cell phone being added into a car and then adding a little bit of GPS. But from there it’s grown to your remote keyless entry to just unlock your car, but it’s even gone into something called a V2X, or a vehicle-to-everything, which just is everything being the, just a way to say vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-to-pedestrian, vehicle-to-cloud. I think that’s the next big trend for automotive. And that’s something that automotive manufacturers are actively designing. And what that will enable is so much . You start to see it already with vehicle-to-cloud communication, where you can do over the air updates in your car. So you don’t have to just wait for a new car model to come out to get an updated infotainment system. You can do over air updates and update your car every couple of weeks or so, whenever a new update is pushed from the manufacturer. But not only that, you have something that’s being discussed in the automotive world called vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which essentially allows cars to talk to one another. And that’s gonna be really important as we grow to higher levels of autonomy, really level three autonomy and beyond, where it will put a more predictive approach to a reactive mechanism. So right now with autonomous driving you have radar or Lidar that’s sensing the world around the car and putting a connectivity feature, like vehicle-to-vehicle communication, into the car, will allow the car to actually talk to its environment. That’s something that I’m really excited about.

– [Calum] Wow, yeah. So I think there’s a lot they’re big into.

– [Hope] I know, right?

– [Calum] Yeah, so I guess just to summarize, in talking about V2X, one way maybe one could think about it would be just as our smartphones have the capacity to connect to a variety of different things. So to a Wifi network, or to cellular, or to Bluetooth. And all of these different things enable different applications. So you can call people via cellular network. You can use cellular or Wifi

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Calum] To access various applications. You can use Bluetooth to connect to things in your local Environment, like speakers. In a similar way, with vehicles adding different kinds of connectivity, suddenly they can now begin connecting to different things. And so they can connect to the cloud, vehicle-to-cloud, as you mentioned. They can connect to other vehicles. They can connect to infrastructure, potentially stoplights or things around them.

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Calum] And then potentially connect to people, which we can either talk about now or later. I’m curious what that looks like, but for the vehicle-to-vehicle

– Yeah.

– [Calum] I’m really curious there, because it seems like, I feel like I remember reading years ago in “Popular Science” or something, talking about the cars of the future and how they might all communicate with each other and use that to coordinate

– [Hope] Okay.

– [Calum] With traffic or to avoid colliding with each other. And that seems great as a vision, but it also seems, to me, now having worked in the IoT industry, that there are some barriers to that. Like, “Okay, well what are the standards “for how these things communicate? “What things are they communicating?”

– [Hope] Right.

– [Calum] So what does that look like? In what form would they be communicating? Does it make more sense that they would communicate up to the cloud? There’d be some centralized thing in the cloud that would then talk back down to vehicles? Or are there cases where it really does make sense for vehicles to talk directly? And what are some of those cases?

– [Hope] Yeah, I think all the questions that you just asked are the questions that the industry is asking right now too. And they’re still being determined, actually. Right now you have a big battle. You may not know it , but there’s a battle going on between cellular V2X and DSRC, which stands for ‘dedicated short range communication’. DSRC has been around for a couple of decades, I believe. It’s a longstanding standard that people are familiar with. And you also have cellular V2X, which is exactly what it sounds like. Cellular enabling technology. And these are two different types of standards. And I don’t wanna go too much into the nitty gritty of the technical, but there are different bodies, different groups that are pushing for these different standards. Right now it’s kind, DSRC is the status quo and what has been adopted or what governments have supported and kind of protected the frequency band that it operates in. But 5G, as everyone’s anticipating, a lot of people are pushing for 5G in the cellular version of V2X, which they both have different trade-offs, obviously. But it’s something that is really difficult to align on. A lot of people, a lot of companies and legislators have to play nice, in order to kind of agree on these different standards in order for them to work. Because when it comes to anything connected, you have to have multiple connection nodes and points. And you have to agree on that standard at some point. So that is something that’s being decided on. It’s literally legislation across the world, even here in the United States this is being discussed right now. You also asked a question about whether it made sense to the cloud first versus just car-to-car. And I think it’s gonna to be more car-to-car, as opposed to connecting to the cloud first. Because what if you don’t have that connection? So these DSRC cellular and V2X can operate without network connection. And if it becomes a safety critical application, you’re gonna have to be able to rely on it even without a network.

– [Calum] Yeah, that makes total sense. So the idea would be that if you’re out somewhere without a cellular tower and the only way you can communicate with the car next to you

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– Is you have to go up to a tower, then back down to that car,

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Calum] Then in the absence of cellular connectivity, there wouldn’t be any communication. So that makes sense to me.

– [Hope] Mm-hmm, yeah.

– [Calum] But what I’m curious about is, what are some of the, either current or imagined, benefits of when vehicles, or if vehicles, could talk directly to each other? What are some of the Applications for that kind of connectivity?

– [Hope] Yeah, I started to kind of go down that explanation a little bit earlier, but I’ll give you a more specific example. Adding some sort of connectivity as you’re, just imagine driving down a road and you’ve got a more autonomous car, it’s probably level three. So you’ve got some sort of autonomy already. And a car stops

– Can we take

– [Hope] In front of you-

– [Ryan] Quick pause, can you explain level three?

– [Hope] Yeah , I’m sorry. I know I’m in the automotive world and I just assume everyone knows what level three is. Generally speaking, level one is feet off. So it’s kind of adaptive cruise control. Level two is hands-off, so it’s kind of that lane line guidance. Level three is where your eyes are off, but there’s still a backup. You still have to kind of be in control of the car in case something happens. And level four and beyond, it’s kind of steering wheel is optional. And so, level three, when your mind’s off of the situation, when your hands or when your eyes are off of the situation of the road, that’s really where we think that vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-X will be a more useful, there’s a better business case, because it’s putting a predictive component to a reactive component in the car, which is the lidar or autonomous portion of the car.

– [Ryan] So, I have a question. I think this has been a discussion point that I’ve had with other people. So when you get to this level three autonomy with the cars, what happens when you’re interacting with cars that don’t have the technology in them? Older cars. How does that-

– [Hope] Yeah.

– [Ryan] I mean, that’s a challenge just on the surface, right? But are there ways,

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] Well, do you believe that they’re be ways to kind of integrate this technology into, kind of, let’s say, legacy cars? Or is it gonna kind of really not be able to have the full effect until every car is able to kind of have the technology in it?

– [Hope] Well, there’s a certain threshold that you have to overcome with the number of cars on the road that have a certain amount of connectivity to be able to establish, say, even a traffic pattern.

– [Ryan] Mm-hmm.

– [Hope] And it’s not that high, actually. I think it’s around 10 to 15%. And if you live in a densely populated area like I do, in Silicon Valley , then it becomes a little bit easier to probably get to that threshold with the amount of connectivity you have on the road already. The connected cars that you have on the road. But yeah, I think you have a good point. There is backward compatibility there. We are seeing that today even, with aftermarket solutions, is what we call it. Where you can plug into connected devices to your car. And you see that, I mean, I think you’ve seen it with insurance trackers. That’s one example of it. But there’s these things called OBD dongles that you plug into your car that have Wifi hotspots, that have GPS tracking, that have cellular connections to add emergency calling in event of an accident into your car. So I do think that there will be aftermarket solutions in the future as we’re seeing more cars just integrate it at the OEM level, at the automotive manufacturer level. But you’re right, there has to be a certain threshold, the number of cars on the road have to have a certain amount of connectivity, or a certain amount of autonomy for them to interact well, and same with the connectivity, whether it be DSRC, the dedicated short range communication, or the cellular V2X, whatever our legislative bodies decide to go with.

– [Ryan] Gotcha. So one of the things I’m curious is, and this might not even be relevant at all. But a lot of the way we kind of figure out traffic patterns now is through our cell phones, like with Waze and Google Map, for instance. Do you see any kind of benefit for that once we kind of reach that level three and these cars are talking more to each other? Or do you see they kind of work as a compliment or what are your kind of views there?

– [Hope] Are you asking if, say, using Google Maps will still be necessary in the future? Or if your car will just be able to do it on its own?

– [Ryan] Yeah, more of the latter. Is that what you’re asking?

– [Ryan] And kind of figure out where, is there not just value in the Google Maps and the Waze type tools, but is there a way that they may be able to kind of help with the process?

– [Hope] I think so. I think that tapping into Google Maps. I think that that would be a very useful tool. I think that begs the question of how is it being utilized? Is it tapping into it on your phone? Or is it tapping it into an internal system in the car? And of course, that gets into security questions. that gets into safety questions, or liability questions. Because when it comes to the connected car, it really is an IoT device, but the safety and security implications are pretty severe. And I think that’s a question that a lot of OEMs and Tier 1’s in the automotive world are asking.

– [Ryan] Gotcha, gotcha, cool. Calum, you got anything?

– [Calum] Yeah, so I guess speaking of, you mentioned inside the car and talking about Google Maps and Waze and things that are currently on the phone, but perhaps might migrate to within the car itself. Taking a look inside the car, as cars continued to become smarter and more connected and potentially moving to level three or even to level four where people don’t need to have their eyes on the road, or at a level four to even have to be in the driver’s seat. What does that begin looking like? Or what are some of the things you’re excited about, as far as how that begins to change the experience within cars?

– [Hope] Oh my gosh. I love this question because it’s like, picture your ideal commute scenario and that’s what it’s gonna be in the future. I hate sitting in traffic, as I’m sure everyone who’s listening to this does .

– [Calum] They might be in traffic right now.

– [Hope] Right, everyone hates it. It’s a common hatred for traffic. Or even looking for parking. How stressful is that, right ? Looking for parking, sitting in traffic, these are things that we’ll be able to outsource to connectivity in the future. The example of looking for parking. Your car will be able to talk to a lamppost or to that building over there. And that building saying, “Hey, there’s a free parking spot right here.” And your car just drives to it and you don’t have to worry about it. Or your car is taking you to work. And you’re able to sit there in your connected car. It has Wifi capabilities. And if you’re a good employee, you’re doing work, you’re sitting there and answering emails. Or if you need a little bit of a break, you’re streaming something off of Netflix. And you can do that all right in your car. And it’s kind of a seamless environment. I think that’s what is really going to happen, what people really, from a consumer level, are pushing for. They want more of their home or office environment in their car. They want a seamless transition and be able to be productive, be able to relax, spend family time, or working time in the car. And that’s, I think, it’s not gonna be wasted time anymore. It’s going to be useful time. We’re gonna get that time back in the day. And I think that’s something that I’m really looking forward to.

– [Ryan] When I was at CES, went to a, I guess BMW had this big exhibit, and they had this VR experience that they put me through with the headset on, sit down, driving the car.

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] And then it starts to basically go through levels of autonomy, where you’re only controlling the steering wheel, you’re not controlling the steering wheel, you’re sitting there, then the whole entire windshield turns into a computer monitor.

– [Ryan] Your friends are calling you, you’re talking to your friends, you’re watching the football game, you’re unlocking the door to your house. You’re doing all of this stuff from your car. And I know, at least at a high level, and we didn’t really get into this yet, but kind of learning a little bit more about what your role is when it comes to that infotainment side of things. So as autonomous vehicles kind of reach these levels three, four, and beyond, the design of that probably brings along with it some exciting, and maybe scary challenges, to building that infotainment

– [Hope] Mm-hmm. [Ryan] And that entertainment system for the driver. I’d just love to hear from your side of things

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] Kind of what those challenges may look like, and kind of what you’re most excited about, or maybe scared about, when it comes to building those infotainment systems. Like, what kind of opportunities are really are for you to kind of unleash your creative side, to kind of go down a whole new path than we’ve ever really been able to go down before.

– [Hope] I love that you call it my creative side, too. And I think it’s funny because being an engineer, people don’t necessarily think of us that way, but really it takes a lot of creativity to kind of imagine this world or even designing. I design circuit boards.

– [Ryan] Yeah.

– [Hope] For reference designs for these systems. And it does take a lot of creativity to overcome different challenges, different trade-offs in these systems. I think that my boss said it very well a few years ago. We’ve made this transition from having a computer in a car, to building a car around a computer. And I mean, I think I heard the average number of, we call them ECUs, or they’re just essentially little computers in the car. The number of them in the late 90s was, like, three. And now there’s 120, on average . It’s really more computer than it is machine. And I think just figuring out how to make it all work together in a safe, reliable way.

– [Ryan] Right.

– [Hope] I think that’s everyone’s biggest challenge, right?

– [Ryan] Right, and you’re kind of leading to another point, which is, you’re balancing this, let’s say next level infotainment system, as being interactive and valuable to the user, but also,

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] You have to kind of watch the line of it being distracting, just in case,

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] The driver has to do something. So, yeah, I mean, there’s just so many different components of it. What do you think when it comes to those topics of that distracting verse balancing that with the value and interaction that the driver has when you take the driving part out of it?

– [Hope] Yeah, I think that we’re at a pivotal point right now where we have to find that balance.

– [Ryan] Mm-hmm.

– [Hope] And that’s something that every engineer that I come across, here at Texas Instruments, even OEMs, automotive manufacturers, and Tier 1’s, they’re very concerned about that. Making sure that it’s not distracting, that we are enabling the user to be safe in what they’re doing, but also getting the right information and the right connectivity, as well. We’re at that pivotal point right now where we’re not at level three autonomy, we’re not a level four, or level five. We’re really only at two, two and a half, in some new cars. And it’s going to be something that will enable us to do so much more, but right now, it’s a huge design consideration to make sure that you are not being distracted at all, but being enable to interact with your car in a safe, reliable way.

– [Ryan] Yeah, and thinking about it from, not just your side, being the creative and being the engineering side of it for the design, but also from the driver, when they put that headset on, obviously, I know it’s virtual reality, I know I’m sitting in a room, I know nothing’s gonna happen, but when you really get immersed in it and you’re sitting there driving and you start to think about yourself as a driver as you’ve been driving for X number of years, and then all of a sudden, the dashboard is a TV screen or a computer screen, and you kind of lose the fact, the thought of you’re actually in a car, which is great from a, getting your time back, being able to provide more value than driving, but there’s also a level of anxiety that gets attached to it where it’s like, you can’t see anything.

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] I mean, obviously, you could probably turn it off and see out the windows, but you’re in full trust mode at this point. You’re just trusting that the car, and the telematics, and all the other cars around you,

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] And the drivers, everything is going to be fine, because if you’re looking at your screen, you’re not seeing another car possibly running into you or anything like that. And I think it’s,

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] There’s that whole hurdle that we kind of have to get over, and I think, especially in the older generations, that’s gonna be a hard hurdle to get to. I mean, they’re scared of using cell phones for things and putting their information out on the internet. So I feel like you’re going to get to a point where you’re gonna have a big group of people who’s gonna be scared, especially went a lot of the cars on the road maybe are not connected. But what are your thoughts on balancing and kind of curbing that fear? Because, again, I was in a virtual reality environment, but there was a little bit of anxiety, that was there, I’ll be honest with you.

– [Hope] Right , I know. I think that’s such an interesting take on it, because there’s not just the advancement of technology. There’s the ethics of it and there’s the perception of it, right?

– [Ryan] Sure.

– [Hope] You do have to think about the people that are like, “No, well I like driving” .

– [Ryan] Right, sure.

– [Hope] “I like driving my car. “I don’t wanna give that up.” Or you have people that are like, “No, I don’t want to, I don’t trust the system.” And I think that it is something that we’ll have to overcome, kind of as a society. Honestly, these cars, these autonomous cars, there’s a lot of, there’s plenty of things on the news nowadays when they fail.

– [Ryan] Mm-hmm.

– [Hope] But the percentage, the failure rate, compared to,

– [Ryan] Right.

– [Hope] People failing in the car, is a lot lower.

– [Ryan] Absolutely.

– [Hope] It’s just a matter of perspective.

– [Ryan] It’s a better headline.

– [Hope] Honesty, yeah, right , right? I mean, for me, I know I am the dumbest thing in my car. I really am . I’ve got computers that are not failing as often as I do. And it’s something that we’re gonna have to overcome as a society, just kind of changing that perspective. But I think one thing that we have to keep in mind is that it’s not a unit step function. And I guess that’s the engineer coming out in me again. But it’s not just going from zero to one . When it comes to autonomy or connectivity, it’s a gradual process.

– [Ryan] Sure.

– [Hope] And I think that a lot of times people envision, “Oh, autonomy.” You are lucky, because you got to see those different steps. Maybe all over a span of two minutes.

– [Ryan] Right.

– [Hope] But you got to see those different steps. And I think that these steps, although we have made so much progress in the past 15 years in the automotive world, I do think that there will be time to acclimate, because as you already mentioned, connected cars are going to have to interact with non-connected cars for a little while. Autonomous cars are gonna have to interact with non-autonomous cars for a while. So, there’s going to be a, it’s less of an intersection and more of a transition. And I think that people will be able to adapt, just like the adapted to cellphones.

– [Ryan] Right.

– Just like they adapted to flying in airplanes.

– [Ryan] Sure.

– [Hope] I think that with every technology there will be that adaptation. But there are perceptions that some people will have to overcome in order to really accept that growth.

– [Ryan] Right, and I’ve kind of, speaking from personal experience, just the cars that I’ve had over the years, I’ve kind of gone through a similar progression that I can see how, at large scale that can help. But it definitely, it’s like, holding your hand, kind of baby steps, to get used to this technology.

– [Hope} Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] So for instance, my car has a ton of different technology-based safety features. So it has the adaptive cruise control, so it’ll adjust based on the car in front of me and the speed I set, the lane departure warnings.

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] And a few other things.

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] But the one thing that was the scariest to get used to was the adaptive cruise control, because I would set it on the highway and eventually the highway would turn into a road with a light. And the cars in front of me would stop or you’d be in traffic, and your car would be making its own judgment on how fast it can go behind that car, before it needs to start to slow down, before it comes to a dead stop. And it’s not the same pace that I do it.

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] So when the car does it,

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] It kind of slows down much closer to the car then I would. It’s like, your hands are on the wheel, your feet are hovering above the pedals, like, just in case this this doesn’t stop it.

– [Ryan] But and it does,

– [Hope] Right.

– [Ryan] Every time. Just the repetition and just getting used to this being now the norm, because it’s no interacting with another car.

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] It’s just using its sensors to say, “Okay, there’s a car this far in front of me.” Obviously, environmental condition could affect that, but for the most part, it works every time. But for the first couple times I’m like, “Is this car gonna slow down? “What’s gonna happen here?”

– [Ryan] And then eventually it does.

– [Hope] Right.

– [Ryan] And then every time you do it, okay, now you feel more comfortable. But I think that’s kind of hitting to your point, where this progression,

– Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] Through, the next car somebody buys has these features in it, and then the next car somebody buys has the next level of features in it, and just throughout time, over the next number of years, just becoming more of norm for little pieces. Then, overall, we start to really transition and it’s like, “How did we live without these things?”

– [Calum] Yeah, this transition, I think it really,

– [Hope] Yeah.

– [Calum] Like, this gradual, or somewhat gradual transition I think is really important to highlight, not only in terms of how people adopt it, but in terms of implementation. And what I mean by that is,

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Calum] When looking at all of the wonderful, and scary, things that some of these new capabilities within vehicles can do, it’s tempting to immediately jump to a future in which all vehicles are like that. But vehicles are expensive and people hold onto them for years.

– [Ryan] Very true.

– [Calum] And same with Lots of infrastructure that would need change. I love the idea of having a parking lot that can talk to my car and let me know, “Oh, there’s a parking spot open here.” But that’s gonna necessitate the infrastructure.

– [Calum] In that parking lot being built so that it can communicate

– In some way. Who’s paying for that? Is the parking lot? Are they incentivized? Maybe.

– [Hope] Right .

– [Calum] But, like a lot of these things, it’s easy to look at the future and say, “Here’s what this world could look like.” But it’s not gonna happen in the snap of our fingers. It’s going to be this transition of. And so, that’s very interesting to me, is like, not only what does the future look like when all vehicles are autonomous and we can have wonderful dreams about what that might be, but how do we actually get there? Because there will be this transition where some percentage will have some level of autonomy, but most won’t, because they are older cars and people might take some time to upgrade to the new one and purchase the new one, particularly with vehicles, which can last, you know, you can have a car for a decade. So I think that’s something

– [Calum] Important for people to keep in mind. It’s like, it’s fun to look at the future and think, “Wow, what would it look like “when all vehicles are like this.” But it’s also important to remember that the future is built

– [Calum] In the present. So there’s also a consideration of how do we get there? And part of how we get there is taking into account the way things are now. And so you can’t just build cars that are,

– [Calum] “Oh, yeah, this car works because it can “talk to other cars and therefore be autonomous.”

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Calum] Well, that doesn’t work if most cars aren’t already like, which they won’t be. So, you need to be Autonomous to some level, independent of vehicles that are, you know, dumb cars , until more

– Yeah .

– Catch up.

– [Ryan] There’s a lot of industries that are affected by this, too.

– [Calum] Right.

– [Ryan] You gotta think about, this is not something that I’m too connected with, but I was sitting in a restaurant the other day, watching TV. The stories that they have, they didn’t really have any sports on, they just had the car auctions. So you have these people who are spending tons of time collecting cars, driving cars, and like you mentioned earlier, Hope, some people just love to drive, right? So there’s different things

– [Ryan] That are going to change. The insurance industry’s probably affected by this. There’s a ton of different areas that, unless they’re all on the same page, I feel like this transition, and maybe it’s not so much the technology that’s gonna hold this up. It’s gonna be the perception, the consumer adoption, the regulations and stuff. It’s a very interesting experience to just kind of talk through, because we’re living in it now.

– [Hope] Yeah, I think that you guys have great points. And I think just highlighting it, again, it’s a transition period and it’s not, it’s something that we gradually get used to. I like to use the example of your smartphone. How many years ago did you not have a smartphone? It’s probably 10 years ago, right ?

– [Calum] Mm-hmm.

– [Hope] Most, a lot of people have had smartphone for nearly a decade now. And honestly, I can’t imagine living without it. And I think, I’m curious about even your car, where you’re saying you have adaptive cruise control, where you have the lane departure warnings. And you said the first couple of times that you’re using this, I felt anxious for you, because I know that feeling

– Right.

– [Hope] Of like, “Oh, do I trust this steering wheel “to keep me in the lane line?” But I bet you sit in traffic and you are just like, “I can’t imagine not having this anymore,” you know ? It’s such a great asset and it just keeps, to your guys’ point, it just keeps building on itself. As you said, it’s like the technology, it’s not something that you’re just developing for the future. It’s for today. You have to build that today. And we have the technology now. We have the technology to enable all of these features. It’s just a matter of environment. The environment, the perceptions, the implications, the ability to engineer it,

– Right.

– [Hope] Quickly. There’s a lot of things, a lot of factors that go into these systems. And so, it does lend itself to that gradual buildup, as opposed to just that unit step function.

– [Ryan] Yeah, there are two more points I wanna make and then we can kind of transition to the “Ask IoT” questions. But one is, it’s funny that I give you this story about me driving my Jeep and kind of these different technologies and how hesitant I was. But I was put in a Tesla one day to go drive it and try the autopilot.

– Mm-hmm.

– And I was completely trusting. I took my hands, I took everything off. And I was like, “This thing is gonna, it has to work.”

– [Ryan] Like, “Elon said it worked, so it’s gonna work.” And so I was just in the car with three other people and was like, “Never tried this before on a highway.” He’s like, “Yeah, just take your feet off, “take your hands off, it’ll drive you around the corner.” And I was like, “All right, cool.” And just did it. But then I’m hesitant with my own car about the just stopping the car. So yeah, it’s an interesting thing.

– [Hope] Maybe it’s a liability.

– [Ryan] Yeah, maybe, yeah.

– [Hope] A liability thing .

– [Ryan] Yup, “It’s his fault. “Guy told me that it was gonna work.”

– [Hope] Yeah.

– [Ryan] But the other point I wanted to make, and something we didn’t really talk about, but it’s an interesting question, is the environment and how this plays into the whole shift into cars communicating with each other.

– Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] And why they’re able to do. Because I know, for instance, if you can’t read the lanes, my sensors on my car will not work. Or if they’re covered by lots of snow, you know? How limiting is that?

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] Like, I have to do it manually. Can a car drive itself autonomously when it can’t see anything but just white snow and different depths? How do you guys think about those different, or how do you, I don’t know if it’s necessarily something that you’re particularly working on, but have you kind of heard different approaches to how different environmental factors will play into the development or affect, I guess, the autonomous movement?

– [Hope] Well, you’re just making the business case for connectivity .

– [Ryan] Sure, sure.

– [Hope] Because if you have, say a lamppost that is able to tell you where the edge of the road is,

– [Ryan] Yup.

– [Hope] Then that’s where it works hand in hand with autonomy.

– [Hope] And I think that’s, it’s tough, because I think a lot of times we look at business case, like adding these connected features, it’s an added dollar amount into the car, and what is the business case for that? Why would someone pay more for something that they’re used to having or that should just help with safety? And I think those are the types of things that really do make a business case. Adding that connectivity in to help with brutal road conditions or a construction site that’s up ahead that just got added. Adding that connectivity feature and to tell your car to slow down because there’s workers on the side of the road.

– [Hope] Opting in for data capabilities in order to access a coupon as you drive past an In-N-Out here in California, you know? So it’s like those types of things do add to the business case, and that’s why I think connectivity in the car, it’s gonna happen and it’s a really exciting opportunity that will unlock a lot of cool features.

– [Ryan] Definitely. Calum, anything before I get into the “Ask IoT” stuff? He has this huge smile on his face.

– [Calum] I was thinking about, debating whether to, I was mulling over something in my mind, I guess just to give you a window into my thought process. I was thinking about your comment about the lamp potentially telling you where you are if the road conditions are such that you couldn’t read the lines on the road. My thinking was, does that actually make sense? Would you have because who would be installing the lampposts and maintaining them? Wouldn’t it be cheaper just to paint better lines on the roads ?

– [Ryan] What if there’s like six inches of snow on top?

– [Calum] Well, that’s true, right. And then I started going down the rabbit hole of, “Okay, that could work,” because it actually probably would be cheaper to just paint better lines on roads. But then, if it’s extremely reliant just on the lines, that could open up to bad actors who might just go out onto a road and paint the lines into a wall.

– [Ryan] Yeah.

– [Calum] So that’s where my mind was. I was like, I was debating, like, “Do I bring this up?”

– [Hope] That sounds like a Roadrunner type of cartoon scenario.

– Yeah.

– Yeah, but in a kind of messed up way.

– But yeah, right. You’re totally right.

– [Ryan] Or the Coyote.

– Yeah.

– [Hope] I think that just goes back to, yeah, Wile E. Coyote . That goes back to the whole, there’s a lot of implications that bringing connectivity to the car has, because you’re putting connectivity into a vehicle that has critical safety features and yeah, security is a huge issue, safety is a huge issue. And it is something that is greatly considered as these systems are being designed. Back up systems, functional safety. I think that just kind of speaks to that point, because I think there is gonna be some sort of connectivity, whether it’s in the lamppost or better painted line or something like that, but maybe it’s connected lane lines on the road, who knows.

– [Calum] Right.

– [Hope] But it’s going to happen in order to have these better connected systems. There will be a dollar amount tied to it that makes sense, whether it’s like healthcare cost being reduced and so therefore that’s, there’s a whole bunch of ideas of how you can trade-off and really make the business case for connectivity in the car. And going into government infrastructure that might be paying for it, or private infrastructure that might be paying for it that you opt in for. There’s a lot, but it really does, there is a huge, critical component of safety and security when it comes to connectivity being added into the car.

– [Calum] Yeah.

– [Ryan] That’s an interesting point, Calum. Now I’m thinking about cars as Coyote. And the Coyote’s not and now we’re talking about smart cars. But we just but all right , let’s transition quickly into the “Ask IoT” questions. I’m just gonna pick two of them out because I think they’re, we’ve talked a little bit about them, but if we just wanna succinctly go through them, that’d be great. So we talked a lot about 5G and lidar we mentioned. But what other technologies, not called 5G, let’s say, Hope, do you believe will have the greatest impact on the automotive space going forward?

– [Hope] From a connectivity standpoint?

– [Ryan] Sure, yes, yeah.

– [Hope] Yeah, I think that we will have, 5G will be one of the bigger impacts. I think that people aren’t the, most people don’t necessarily know about DSRC,

– [Ryan] Mm-hmm.

– [Hope] Which is what has been around a long time and is a Wifi-based standard or protocol that is used for vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-everything communication. I think that as our legislative bodies are deciding what standard to use, I think we’ll see a mixture of DSRC and 5G, especially since 5G isn’t necessarily rolled yet for the automotive space, or just in general. So I think that that these are going to be some of the big protocols that have big impact on automotive connectivity.

– Great. And then the second question, which we’ve kind of talked about these things already, it seems like in our conversation, but maybe we just summarize them up for the listeners, which is what are the biggest hindrance to autonomous cars becoming mainstream? And we’ve talked about kind of the perception. Obviously there’s a technology component there, but what are some other things that maybe we’re not thinking about, that would be kind of a hindrance to autonomous cars are really getting out there?

– [Hope] I think that it’s the ecosystem.

– [Ryan] Okay.

– [Hope] I think it’s the perception. The consumer’s perception of connectivity and the autonomous car.

– Mm-hmm.

– [Hope] I think it’s legislative, just what standard do we adopt? And I mean, governmental bodies,

– Mm-hmm.

– [Hope] From an infrastructure standpoint, what will they invest? Or like I said, private entities, that maybe will allow people to opt in to utilize the business case. I think that it’s just kind of all of those things that are wrapped up that kind of influences the ecosystem for autonomous and connected cars. I guess that’s the biggest hindrance. It’s the ecosystem.

– [Calum] Yeah, I view it as ecosystem and infrastructure. So, on the infrastructure side, this goes back to what we were talking about, regarding having to build from the past. So, if moving to a fully autonomous future for vehicles means reshaping the landscape or cities or how we do parking, all of these things are actual, physical things in the world. Like concrete or parking garages,

– Mm-hmm.

– [Calum] That might need to change, but if they are physical structures, there’s often a lot of investment that’s already gone into them. So to tear them down in favor of something new, it just takes time. So, I think past infrastructure might be a hindrance. And then, yeah, I totally agree on the ecosystem front. In areas in which one organization can do something alone, then it really just comes to how fast can the organization do this thing? But if it’s something that requires many different parties, which autonomous vehicles do, because it requires stakeholders in the form of governments from the legislative side,

– Mm-hmm.

– [Calum] It requires all the different manufacturers working together to standardize or to have standards around connectivity. It requires many, many different pieces. And that’s what an ecosystem means, is that there’s these different players that serve different roles, but need to work together for the general health of the ecosystem, but that also means that it could be as slow as whatever the slowest critical piece of that ecosystem is. So bringing everyone along for the ride,

– [Hope] Yeah.

– [Calum] The technology might be there, but maybe it’s legislation that slows things down. Maybe it’s the lack of connected light posts , or painted roads, or whatever it may be. So yeah, I agree with you, I think ecosystem. And then also to me, infrastructure are some of the barriers that might slow adoption of, or widespread adoption of, autonomous vehicles.

– [Hope] Yeah, the legacy infrastructure,

– Right.

– [Hope] I think is what you’re hitting on, which I think is a really great point.

– [Calum] Correct, yes.

– [Ryan] All right, so before we sign off here, I think, I wanted to ask you something. I know we kind of talked about this in the pre-interview, and I think it’s really important to talk about. But I wanted to ask you about something that really stood out to me when I was doing my research. And it seems like you’re quite active in organizations, both within and outside of Texas Instruments, that focuses on empowering women in the tech industry,

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] As well as encouraging equality in STEM education for girls who are looking to pursue tech fields, for instance. So, and one of them, I guess, was the Bay Area Women’s Initiative, as well as, I think it was, High Tech High Heels

– Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] Board of Directors, as you’re involved in that.

– [Hope] Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] All seem very interesting from just kind of my general research, but what do you see as the biggest hurdles or challenges in getting women into the tech industry? Does it start at a young age? Or what advice do you have for maybe the women out there looking to break into the tech industry, whether as an engineer or some other role? Also, we probably have a lot of parents, maybe, out listening, who have daughters who have an interest in STEM,

– Mm-hmm.

– [Ryan] And what is your advice to them to kind of keep them motivated, to keep them going down this path? Because what you mentioned earlier was is that they do get deterred, but how do we kind of avoid that?

– [Hope] Mm-hmm, yeah, I mean, this is a huge subject that I am very passionate about and I am very involved. Yeah, High Tech High Heels is an organization that’s based in Dallas, and I helped expand here to the Bay Area. I’m involved in the Women’s Initiative here at Texas Instruments. And I think that my goal is just, I want to get more girls into STEM, STEM education, and then further into their careers and build them up, build women up in their careers. And that goes for women across the board, diversity and inclusion. It just really affects everything. I think that there’s a huge business case in general, but it’s also just

– Mm-hmm.

– [Hope] The right thing to do, because it allows for so much more innovation. I can only imagine what we’re leaving on the table, if we have very similar, like-minded people, similar backgrounds in the room, and innovation comes from diversity, and struggle, and challenging status quo, looking at something from a different perspective. And so I think that we just need more

– Mm-hmm.

– Diversity in the tech world. And I think that one aspect of that is getting more girls into into STEM, and especially girls of color. We need more women, in general, in the tech world. So I would say that, to people listening, if you have a young girl that is interested in math and science, just keep encouraging them. Tell them that they’re good at math and science. That’s a very important thing. It’s actually scientifically proven, studies have been done that girls lose their confidence starting as early as fourth grade. And having that encouragement actually really helps. Get them a mentor, whether it’s a colleague at work or someone you know in the,

– [Ryan] Mm-hmm.

– [Hope] STEM world. Connect them, just connect the dots and introduce these young girls to people that can help them see themselves

– In that career. This is data-backed stuff. I do have a blog article that I could link that kind of connects all the data to this. But anecdotally speaking, that’s something that happened for me. My dad, and my parents, they just encouraged me from a young age. My teachers told me I was good at math. They connected me to mentors from an early age. And that’s how I ended up studying electrical engineering. So yeah, all of that encouragement and just multiple touch points. That’s what I’d recommend to those who are listening.

– Awesome. Yeah, and I will say that your excited and enthusiasm exhibited through this conversation it’s very infectious. So, I think if we could have more women out there doing those kinds of things, I think that’d be incredible. So I appreciate you kind of sharing and shedding a little light onto that. We will put any links you want in the description and in the show notes so that if people listen to this part of the show and are like, “Wow, my daughter would benefit from this kind of guidance,” here’s a way to kind of go about it. So reading that article, whatever it may be, we definitely would love to share that. But before we sign off here, I guess, if people wanted to follow up and talk to you just specifically, maybe about the STEM aspect or anything we talked about in general, is there a way you like people to kind of engage with you? Is it through Twitter, LinkedIn, anything kind of on the social front?

– [Hope] Yeah.

– [Ryan] Okay.

– [Hope] LinkedIn, please. My name’s Hope Bovenzi. And I think I’m the only Hope Bovenzi out there . So it should be pretty straightforward to find me on LinkedIn.

– Very cool. All right, well, we really appreciate your time. And this conversation was great. Hopefully we’ll have you back at some point. So thanks for taking some time to chat with Calum and I.

– [Hope] Thank you guys, it was a great conversation. And yeah, it’s fun to talk about all the possibilities that there are for connected car and connected future.

– [Ryan] Totally agree. Thanks, again.

– [Hope] Thank you .

– [Ryan] All right, everyone. Thanks again for joining us this week on the IoT For All podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode, and if you did, please leave us a rating or review and be sure to subscribe to our podcast on whichever platform you’re listening to us on. Also, if you have a guest you’d like to see on the show, please drop us a note at ryan@iotforall.com and we’ll do everything we can to get them as a featured guest. Other than that, thanks again for listening and we’ll see you next time.

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IoT For All
IoT For All is creating resources to enable companies of all sizes to leverage IoT. From technical deep-dives, to IoT ecosystem overviews, to evergreen resources, IoT For All is the best place to keep up with what's going on in IoT.
IoT For All is creating resources to enable companies of all sizes to leverage IoT. From technical deep-dives, to IoT ecosystem overviews, to evergreen resources, IoT For All is the best place to keep up with what's going on in IoT.