Carmakers changing lanes to become software driven

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When disruptive new businesses come along, it tests the mettle of established players and their ability to reinvent themselves. Think of the impact of Apple entering the mobile phone market in 2007 or Tesla launching its electric cars a year later. The automotive industry has seen many more challenges since then, not least the impact of mobile communications as cars became part of a connected ecosystem.

There is no shortage of research that highlights how the value of the connected car market and Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communications is exploding, but there is not a lot of detail around what carmakers need to do to secure their place in this fast unfolding future. Until now.

In the new Cubic eBook, How to become a Software-Driven Car Manufacturer with an Autonomous Digital Platform, we describe how an intelligent platform can put carmakers at the centre of their own ecosystem. It’s a roadmap we understand well at Cubic because we have been developing the software and the platform – PACE – to facilitate precisely this kind of control.

Connected Software Drives Performance

Delivering a Global IoT Software and Connectivity Management solution was a natural evolution for Cubic. We gradually layered more software capabilities around the connectivity solutions we were already providing to manufacturers and service providers across the globe. Our focus on centralised control and scalability is precisely what automotive manufacturers are calling out for as they make the transition from old to new business models.

Part of the carmaker’s challenge is to overcome complexity around in-car technology and regain control over their supply chain. A modern car typically has between 70 and 100 electronic control units (ECUs), each with its own software and hardware configurations. Sensors and high-performance computing are used to run multi-domain functionality, from navigation systems and in-vehicle infotainment to rear view cameras and Over-The-Air telemetry.

With every new model comes a redesign and software refresh. Multiple vendors are involved, and configuration is complex. What they need is an architecture that can minimise the functionality of the hardware and move the software decision-making and processing to a central hub.

Open to opportunity

As difficult as keeping control over what happens inside the vehicle will be, the bigger challenge may be the way carmakers manage the connected world outside. New services and market opportunities are emerging that they need to have a stake in. In-car analytics and vehicle tracking solutions, for example, could enable insurance company partnerships and new revenue streams; advertising around infotainment and navigation might be another source of income.

New business models are expected to grow around car sharing and frictionless forecourts, which are being developed as mobile hubs for a range of services. The arrival of 5G will play a significant role in ‘smart cities’ and open up wider opportunities, with the potential for public and private partnerships that could create new areas of growth.

To successfully navigate the opportunities presented by connected car ecosystems, carmakers have to change lanes and become software driven. This is a hard roadmap to follow that we directly address in our eBook. We advise on how to move to a single view architecture, where insights from multiple data sets can assess the value of all emerging propositions and put carmakers back in control of their destiny.

Download your copy of How to become a Software-Driven Car Manufacturer with an Autonomous Digital Platform

I will be discussing this topic in greater detail with automotive software expert – Tara Prakriya (Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform) – during Cubic’s next webinar ‘Expert perspectives on software-defined vehicle design.’ Tune in on 3rd December to hear about new automotive use cases and industry perspectives on 5G, electrification and autonomous vehicles. Register here.

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