Thomas Sors CEO Beam Connectivity

Thomas Sors says connectivity is the essential foundation for autonomous vehicles.

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Putting the C in Connected and Automated Mobility

Our Zenzic CAM Creator series continues with Beam Connectivity CEO, Thomas Sors.

Having previously led Dyson’s Connected Vehicle programme, Thomas Sors launched Beam Connectivity in January this year. It might be one of the newest cogs in the UK automotive wheel, but its Connected Vehicle as a Service (CVaaS) product is already attracting interest from car, freight and public transport manufacturers.

TS: “When it comes to connected and automated mobility (CAM) and connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), we see a lot of focus on the ‘A’ part, but not so much about ‘C’, which is our focus. Connectivity is the essential foundation for automation later on, but at the moment it often doesn’t perform very well. For example, OEM apps sometimes get two point something star ratings due to problems with the initial connection and latency.

“Our CVaaS solution provides a better user experience and can unlock the value of data generated by vehicle fleets. It offers a new way of getting data from vehicles to the cloud and back-end, or to send data into the vehicle. Because we’re brand new, there are no issues with legacy software – privacy by design and security by design are embedded all the way through our process, not an afterthought or a bolt-on. That starts with ensuring that we fulfil General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) access rights, including the right to be forgotten.

“I’ve seen quotes that by 2030 all cars will have some form of connectivity. eCall [the EU initiative to enable cars to automatically contact the emergency services in the event of a serious accident] is mandatory for new cars, and that’s just the start. It’s about transparency and explaining the benefits. If you give people the option to say ‘yes, take this data in order for me to get feature X’, then that builds trust.

“From the manufacturer or fleet operator perspective, prognostics is an interesting area – fixing things before they go wrong. Then there’s the ability to understand usage patterns and perform over the air (OTA) updates. Another thing we’re already seeing is support to improve the driving experience, for example, vehicle to infrastructure communications being used to reduce congestion. We expect that to build up quickly over the next 2-4 years.

“We’re only a few months in but we’ve already deployed an end-to-end system to several vehicles and we’re looking to do more and more. It’s not unusual for manufacturers to spend 12-18 months building a connected vehicle solution, so our platform can really speed up their development lifecycle. Why build a connectivity team when we’ve already done it very effectively?

“As to self-driving, the technology is leading the way and moving along quickly, so the focus needs to be on standards, legislation and public acceptance.”

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Author: Neil Kennett

Neil is MD of Featurebank Ltd. He launched in 2019.