Car Making Gone Wild, the Internet of Vehicles at the PanKnowledge Festival 2017

Universiade 2017 opening music designer Blaire Ko, sci-fi writer Leehwa Yeh, the producer of Formosa Television’s Science Discovery, Taiwan’s AI pioneer Professor I-Chen Wu, the ACG Alliance that revolutionized education with animes, construction site writer Li-ching Lin, and 200 other lecturers, all gathered over the 150 sessions of the 2017 PanKnowledge Festival. Many makers gave excellent lectures as well, for example Yalin Chen of the Paper Airplane Project, Dr. Kuu-Young Young of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, Miss Gina Hsu of DHH Studio, Donglin Chang of ArkLab, and of course, the staff of vMakers also set up booths at the event to interact with everybody.

The information from social media websites seems deep and endless, and yet people like to think they have acquired them simply by clicking “like”. This action actually makes information shallow and fragmented. This year’s PanKnowledge Festival once again challenged the traditional education by allowing every participant to acquire all the knowledge they need. There were so many useful courses that many participants even wished they could be in different courses at the same time.

Internet of Vehicles, what is that?

On the second day of the PanKnowledge Festival, 6 car seminars were held to help people visualize the vehicles of the futures. Three physical cars were brought to the event for test rides. Eight engineers from Hua-chuang Automobile also talked about all the possibilities of car interactions that they were researching at the time. The “Car Online Gone Crazy” course invited 5 crazy engineers, Mike, Handle, Eason, Daren and Dahua to give lectures on how important the “Internet of Vehicles” is in a smart home, and what exactly does it do, the question people have been asking.

The Internet of Vehicles is basically Internet of Things for traffic. However, according to Mike from Hua-chuang Automobile, a car is more than just the assembly of components, it has many devices that are connected through different signals. The Internet of Vehicles amplifies these signals, so they can connect to smartphones and built-in communication modes, then connect the vehicles to mobile devices, wearables, other vehicles, the cloud, apps or road facilities.

The simplest form of connection is bluetooth headphones. According to communications engineer Eason, people have been connecting their smartphones to their cars to share information for years, without bluetooth. The team’s goal is to connect to devices directly from the car, without using smartphones, so that more features can be included, such as air quality monitoring. Your smartphone can be more than just a car key, it will be able to share information.

Engineers Dahua and Mike explaining the transceiver system.

There will be more applications like this in the future, and just like how you can control your home appliances on your smart home, the Internet of Vehicles can send you information on your fuel gauge to your smartphone. You can also remotely control your air conditioner, stereo system, and with the inclusion of big data, media streaming and autonomous cars. The possibilities are endless.

Securing identity and information is key 

“Both the passengers and the non-passengers are able to interact with the vehicle.” The Internet of Vehicles is going to add more functionalities to cars, but at the same time, the risk of being hacked also increases. There will be bigger and more substantial damages. Information security expert Daren explained that we need to have some form of identity verification to ensure the safety of the users and the vehicles.

Daren has concluded the four biggest threats of the Internet of Vehicles, and they are theft, fraud, kidnap, and damage. Theft, tampering, forgery, replay and denial-of-service of information are some examples of threats. A “replay attack” is when the hacker steals control of your car before you even know it. Daren also offered a solution: “Co-verification→ Building secure channels→ Transfer encryption+Digital signature+Timestamping.”

Testing the features of the in-vehicle computer outside the Shih Chien University Gymnasium.

These are the 3 technical keys to remove threats: “Co-verification confirms the identity of the user, and “building secure channels” protects the information from being stolen or signals being forged, to ensure safe communications, while encryption secures the integrity and non-repudiation of information, to reduce the risk of information being tampered with or forged, and the chance of replay attack using timestamp.

Open API Carmaker creates infinite possibilities 

After some serious talk on security, the course went on to a much light-hearted topic of Application Programming Interface (API). Hua-chuang Automobile has an open API to allow other developers to make applications. According to Handle, Hua-chuang’s open signals do not involve information security, they focus on entertainment. Signals that are selected from smartphones or bluetooth are more beneficial to the developers, and they are not confined to the cars themselves.

Two electric vehicles available for testing outside PanKnowledge Festival.

Hua-chuang has developed a music app called “Sound+player” using their API, which can link to websites like Youtube and stream music on your transceiver through the API, and you can control it in your car. The team also added in some big data analysis to recommend songs you might be interested. Dahua, the app developer explained that the transceiver is also capable of going through tags to distinguish different music genres, then play them in different equalizers.

He then introduced “Hi Navi,” their navigation app, which can collect a lot of information from the internet. Unlike regular navigation apps that only tell you the traffic, Hi Navi receives the nearby speed limit, and public traffic camera footage, to provide instant traffic report while you are driving. Mike then demonstrated to us on the engineers’ transceivers, and we also went for a test ride on the car that was brought to the PanKnowledge Festival.

Students raised all kinds of questions, and the engineers answered them all

The Internet of Vehicles is often regarded as a member of a smart home, but due to the advancement of technology, security issues other than being hacked have emerged. For example, the attribution of responsibility is difficult to determined by law. There are some safety concerns for the application development of the Internet of Vehicles, which is why the Hua-chuang team gave up developing an interactive traffic game for the back seat children, that could potentially be dangerous.

Despite the necessary concerns and restrictions on the application development of the Internet of Vehicles, there is still a huge room for makers to be creative. The upcoming Carmaker aims to gather people who are passionate about vehicle development, to create innovative, fun or practical applications together. The submission deadline for this Car Makerthon is December 26. Makers are all invited to become “carmakers” and help Taiwan grow in the car development market.



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