In addition to displaying a wide array of next-generation connected vehicle technologies, the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (“CES”) hosted lively discussion of the new possibilities that will be created as vehicles become capable of seamlessly communicating with other vehicles, infrastructure, and pedestrians. In one panel, Connected Vehicles in Connected Ecosystems, participants from across industries explored what the shift means for data collection, business models, and ecosystems.

One potential benefit of connected cars highlighted by the panel is that the data they collect will be used to enhance consumers’ experiences and better manage cities. For example, suspension data can be used to find problems in road infrastructure, explained Ben Volkow, CEO and Co-founder of otonomo. Lani Ingram, Vice President of Verizon, added that this is a very relevant topic right now for cities and states, which are beginning to see the data as not just a means to prevent accidents and injuries, but also as a tool to create better ways to transport people to desired destinations without disruption. The biggest challenge thus far has been getting access to such data, although it is increasingly becoming available more quickly and with more parameters.

The panelists also explored the different business models at play. Mike Mansuetti, President of Robert Bosch LLC, said that his company offers a sense of security to cities, such as San Francisco, where it provides camera monitoring that tracks and shares neighborhood information. Stakeholders need to think through multiple projects that can support each other, said Lani Ingram, citing Verizon’s partnership with the City of Sacramento as a public-private partnership with large upfront costs and significant, long-lasting benefits. Ben Volkow added that the right incentives need to be developed to entice people to willingly part with their data. For example, offering free services could help make sure that everyone benefits: vehicle manufacturers, cities, and drivers alike.

Additionally, the panelists emphasized the importance of a strong ecosystem to support the transition. No one is looking at this as a zero-sum game, explained Joe Vitale, Global Automotive Industry Leader at Deloitte. Instead, the question should be how to create synergies. Mike Mansuetti echoed this sentiment, stating that everyone understands that they cannot do it alone. And Christian Klender, Head of Systems Engineering of McLaren Applied Technologies, stressed the importance of government participation in this ecosystem. For example, his company has partnered with the United Kingdom to improve the safety of, and customer experience on, public rail transportation.

The 2018 CES previewed the future of not only connected vehicle technologies, but also of how we will integrate them into our communities. These technologies are right around the corner and promise to transform the way we work, live, and play – especially if stakeholders can work together, create synergies, and leverage the significant long-term benefits that smart cities will produce.