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No Kidding, 2G for E-Call

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bobdvb
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Security
bobdvb   7/24/2013 3:20:07 AM
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Not only is E-Call a massive waste of money, but if it is going to have 2G technology it won't be secure! It is now trivial to mess with 2G so I worry about the consequences.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Security
junko.yoshida   7/24/2013 8:17:52 AM
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EU's eCall does not mandate which cellular connection the eCall box needs to use. 

So, it is a choice left to automakers.

Why is 2G less secure than 3G in eCall implementation? Could you please educate me on that? Thanks!

bobdvb
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Re: Security
bobdvb   7/24/2013 8:30:22 AM
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An educational video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU8hg4FTm0g

3G isn't totally secure but 2G allows the base station to tell the phone to turn off the security mechanisms and 2G devices by default trust *any* base station.

junko.yoshida
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Missed opportunity
junko.yoshida   7/24/2013 8:31:21 AM
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To me, using 2G for newly minted eCall box (to be rolled out in 2015) strikes as a huge missed opportunity. 

By investing in LTE, for example, like what GM is planning to do, there seems to be a variety of business opportunities for carmakers to mine. Am I wrong about that?

junko.yoshida
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Re: Security
junko.yoshida   7/24/2013 8:41:27 AM
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Now, that's interesting. Thanks for your quick response.

My understanding is that the eCall is a dormant system, only triggered when an accident occurs or by the driver pushing a button manually in the car.

The European Commission even said in a statement:

"It is not traceable and when there is no emergency (its normal operational status) it is not subject to any constant tracking. As it is not permanently connected to mobile networks, hackers cannot take control of it."


But now, thatt seems a tad too optimistic, doesn't it?

rick merritt
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Author
Re: Missed opportunity
rick merritt   7/24/2013 8:43:21 AM
Yeah, this reminds me how I finally got a car with a CD player about the time music went to the MP3 generation. (My next car will have an iPhone dock!)

I underdstand reliability is a top concern for carmakers, there are few robust LTE chips on the market and not all areas have LTE servcies yet, but 2G? Holy crow, why not just release a carrier pidgeon from the trunk in the event of an accident ;-)

junko.yoshida
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Re: Missed opportunity
junko.yoshida   7/24/2013 8:48:46 AM
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I totally agree with you, Rick. 

When consumer electroincs was my main beat at EE Times for a long time, I was always reminded that every penny counts. In other words, CE vendors will never go out of their way to add expensive chips inside their box, unless they are a real "game changer."

But now that I pursue the automotive beat, I am astounded to learn how these carmakers really ask for saving this penny here and that penny there. Wow, I had no idea! 

bobdvb
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Re: Missed opportunity
bobdvb   7/24/2013 8:58:15 AM
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Rick, you know what is really effective and unaffected by cellular reception issues? Rotary spark gap generators and as a bonus I am pretty sure Marconi's patents have expired. All we need is a hardened microcontroller to use the engines condenser to generate the requisit transmissions!

Saves feeding the pidgeon!

DMcCunney
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CEO
What connectivity does this in-car phone NEED?
DMcCunney   7/24/2013 9:30:36 AM
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I don't necessarily see 2G as a problem.  The built-in phone is intended to let the car make calls.  The people in the car will likely have their own phones.  Does the car need 3G for the sort of calls (like roadside assistance requests) that it may need to make?

And automakers aren't cheapskates - buyers are.  The more expensive the components they put into cars, the higher the sticker price has to be, and price will be a factor in the purchase decision.

So for something like this, if lower end and therefore cheaper technology will meet the need, it's what will get used.

DMcCunney
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CEO
Re: Missed opportunity
DMcCunney   7/24/2013 9:37:38 AM
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Since the driver and passengers in the car are likely to have thir own cell phones, tell me how fancy and sophisticated the car's phone has to be?

I have no doubt automakers might provide more powerful and sophisticated built-in phones as extra cost options, if there are compelling use cases that will get the buyer to shell out more.

If I already have a cell phone that can do that sort of thing, why do I need my car to do it?

 

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