AS digital innovations increase connectivity in day-to-day life, cars are joining the list of technological considerations for customers. Manufacturers are approaching things differently, but all realise the importance of software for in-vehicle systems.
An ever increasing number of innovations are being launched into cars, mirroring familiar features such as over-the-air updates that we now find normal in phones, for example. The latest developments are now being made in simplifying the simply staggering levels of technology found in many new vehicles.
For example, Volkswagen has around 70 control units connected in their vehicles, with software from more than 200 suppliers. As such, only 10% of software development is undertaken by VW.
It’s looking to bring everything in-house now though.
By 2025, the group aims to have at least 60% of software development carried out in-house. Before then, from 2020, the group intends to build more than five million fully-networked cars each year. To do this VW has created the Car.Software organisation, which will operate as an independent business unit from January 01, 2020.
Voice control will become widespread, removing the need for a number of switches. Apps and cloud-based services will give cars greater flexibility than ever before.
Not everyone is going it alone however.
The likes of BMW and the Renault Nissan Alliance have collaborated with Microsoft, allowing for faster delivery of new connected systems.
Some brands, such as Volvo and Renault/Nissan, are basing the entire infotainment operating system on the Android platform, and the likes of SEAT and Ford are building Alexa directly into the car’s features.
What’s clear is that connected systems are becoming cornerstones of vehicle development. Relying as heavily on mobile data as refining stations or charge points, the days of an ‘off-line’ car are getting scarce.