Automotive Summit: opportunities in open innovation

Future of automotive, car software
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The inaugural Reuters Automotive Summit took place virtually this month with a high calibre of automotive leaders on the speaking line up. Varied topics from ‘The Autonomous Future’ to ‘Developing the EV Charging Network’ were debated and discussed. Most speakers had one thing in common though – recognition of the importance of collaboration across the automotive ecosystem. This is set to grow as in-vehicle software continues to advance.

Dr. Youngcho Chi, President and Chief Innovation Officer at Hyundai Motor Group, kicked off the event by encouraging a culture of ‘open innovation.’ Leading automakers must work with partners to gain additional capabilities and unlock new business models. Hyundai has invested in a multitude of start-ups of late to gain knowledge and market share in new areas e.g. Mocean a car-sharing service in LA and Grab an EV mobility service, among others.

Unsurprisingly, the main areas tipped to shape the future of the automotive industry dominated discussions: connected, autonomous, shared, and electric.

A connected future:

Andrew Brady from Verizon highlighted the reliance automakers have on investment in cellular networks. Verizon has invested $145 BN in its network since 2000. It is now focusing on 5G technology with the aim of covering 60 US cities by the end of 2020. 5G automotive use cases include high definition mapping for road safety improvements, collision avoidance applications, and travel path predictions with rerouting in case of potential hazards. Verizon accesses Cubic Telecom connected software, delivering a complete package to automakers so they can manage global efficiencies and increase effectiveness in the manufacturing process.

For Qualcomm a major area of focus is its Car-to-Cloud offering which future-proofs vehicles by enabling secure connected car services for the lifetime of a vehicle. For drivers this provides personalised experiences such as access to streaming services and on-demand content, and Over-The-Air updates to activate new vehicle features.

Nakul Duggal, SVP and General Manager of Automotive at Qualcomm, explained that for automakers, Car-to-Cloud is a cost-effective way to gather vehicle data and explore new business models for post-sale revenue opportunities. Qualcomm integrates Cubic’s connected software solution in its Car-to-Cloud architecture. This enables a single embedded software solution, for a vehicle to ship globally with built-in compliance across local markets.

Connectivity is the foundation for other future technologies – autonomous, shared, and electric – to operate seamlessly. Nakul quoted a prediction that 3 out of 4 new vehicles will have cellular connectivity by 2024, which isn’t too far away!

When will autonomous driving become a reality?

According to Daniel Weissland, President at Audi of America, safety and accident prevention are the main priorities driving autonomous vehicle development at Audi. He sees level 3 and 4 autonomy gradually being implemented over the coming years, whereas level 5 is still a long way off.

During ‘The Autonomous Future’ panel, Nakul predicted that as we emerge from the pandemic there will be significant progress made in terms of autonomous vehicle readiness. Players in the ecosystem are advancing sensor technologies at a rapid pace and with the help of 5G’s capacity to manage vast amounts of data. Information can be exchanged between the car and cloud with minimal latency.

Can shared driving survive COVID?

The future of ‘shared’ has been put into doubt amid the pandemic. Stephan Zeh from Silvercar by Audi of America talked about the rapid demand for safe and convenient individual mobility. His team had to pivot their business model to provide contactless rental since the pandemic hit. It now offers a premium rental experience: Vehicles on demand with one car for one customer.

The race to electric:

Last but by no means least, electrification was touted as a major cornerstone for all future mobility. Automakers are investing heavily in electrification. Audi has released two electric models, with plans to release two more in 2021. Daniel advised that by 2025, 30% of Audi’s portfolio in the US will be electrified.

Even more impressive are Hyundai’s electric goals. Dr. Youngcho Chi stated that Hyundai will expand its electric line-up from 24 to 44 models, with the ambition of selling 1 million EVs and a 10% market share by 2025.

Emphasizing the need for collaboration, Dr. Youngcho Chi also talked about Hyundai’s major investment in Arrival, which develops electric vehicles (buses, vans, taxis etc.) for commercial use, helping cities meet net-zero emissions targets. We at Cubic have also partnered with Arrival to power connected software across its fleet. Our PACE platform provides drivers with full visibility of nearby charging stations and real-time navigation.

With the need for collaboration highlighted throughout the event several more partnerships will no doubt be forged over the coming months. Read more about Cubic’s intelligent connected software offering in our latest eBook titled: How to become a software-driven car manufacturer with an autonomous digital platform.

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