The concept of a software defined vehicle (SDV) became well known with the introduction of Tesla in 2012. The SDV concept is a vehicle where features and functions are primarily enabled through software. It reflects the gradual transformation of automobiles from highly electromechanical terminals to intelligent, expandable, mobile electronic terminals that can be continuously upgraded. This technology represents a departure from traditional development for auto manufacturers but one that is necessary to stay competitive as software becomes a bigger part of automobiles.
Wipro has a long history of experience in the automotive industry, including holding several technology patents. In our opinion, apart from enhancing capabilities on the embedded side, there are two areas – service oriented architecture (SOA) and containerization – that companies should focus on to accelerate this evolution.
The Benefits of Service Oriented Architecture
To enable SDVs, a SOA is created that hosts applications and services that communicate and exchange data. SOA makes it much easier to add new functionality to vehicles – similar to adding new features to mobile devices. As long as the base hardware is present it is easy to “upgrade” vehicle features.
There are several benefits of SOA. It allows software development to be independent of the vehicle model year, adding agility and speed to traditional automotive development. A new software service developed in 2024 can very well work with 2022 model hardware once the hardware is abstracted. And standardized and simplified hardware architecture makes it easy to scale. In addition, software development toolkits (SDKs) can be created to help third party software engineering teams build apps for the vehicle – just like the apps for phones. Finally, embracing container registry based service management, versioning, and deployment to the automotive fleet enhances the over the air (OTA) upgrade process, reducing dealership visits.
How Does Containerization Help?
The use of containerization has continued to grow due to faster deployments, greater scalability, and more. Containerization has become the default choice in the cloud native world of SOA design because it further separates the services from the hardware. Compared to virtual machines (VMs), it is lightweight and is easier to scale horizontally. Being highly flexible, containerization supports many different technologies, accommodating developer team preferences. A container based approach enables services to be built on the cloud and deployed to the vehicle.
As the number of services grow, management and intercommunication among them will become challenging, making container orchestration necessary. Kubernetes have become the default choice for container orchestration. It allows each service to be updated without impacting any other running service, is production grade, and supports an extensive set of plugins for networking, security, interservice communication, observability, and more. And optimized components can be built for metrics, logs, configuration, topology, and fault and tracing.