The automotive industry is racing toward a future of hyperconnected supercomputers. As evidence, consider that the average vehicle today has 100 million lines of onboard code. Whether passenger or commercial, modern autos have become durable IoT devices that demand connections to the world around them, from homes and smart-city infrastructure to telecom networks and enterprise systems.
The engineering, power and connectivity required to capture, transmit and analyze these vast volumes of data is immense, and it will only increase in the future. In fact, it’s naïve to think it will all be accomplished within the car itself. That is why the next generation of automobiles will be driven by software. It will be driven by the cloud. And it will be driven by a complete redesign of the automotive experience, from design to drivetrain to driveway.
Achieving this future requires a new approach to software-defined vehicles (SDVs). It requires what we call a Cloud Car ecosystem.
Reimagining the Role of Automotive Software
By the end of this decade, every vehicle will be software defined. Traditional automotive manufacturers see this future as clearly as their newest competitors, but upstart brands have shown the most progress in their next-gen features – and watched their market caps skyrocket.
Where mature auto manufacturers struggle isn’t in having a vision, but in deploying the right skills, leveraging the right technologies, and enabling the agility and speed that the market demands. Traditional auto brands have simply been unable to bridge the gap between IT and automotive engineering.
They can still catch up, regain their edge, and deliver on the promise of software-defined vehicles. But it’s impossible to drive toward that future using a model that’s parked in the past. Automotive companies’ wholesale approach to engineering must change, from skillsets to platforms to ways of working. And it must change fast.
Working with a consortium of cloud, connectivity, engineering and platform experts can enable this transformation while accelerating the time to market for SDVs. Wipro has assembled such a collective, our Cloud Car ecosystem, to empower every automotive manufacturer to drive innovation and (re)gain the power to disrupt.
The approach is simple: transform automotive software to meet cloud-native engineering principles with microservices and containers. This revolutionary shift enables manufacturers to use new coding techniques like node.js, WebAssembly (Wasm), Python or Go to improve their agility and deliver features more effectively and faster with significantly lower costs. By changing how apps are coded and engineered, manufacturers and suppliers can leverage a platform that exists both inside and outside the vehicle. They can also utilize a “shadow mode” architecture that works in the background to gather, consolidate and analyze data to help improve safety and functionality.
As a result, tomorrow’s software-defined vehicles will be more sustainable for all involved. Manufacturers can explore software enhancements that unlock new revenue streams. Regulators can ensure delivery of the latest advanced safety and security features. And drivers can gain new functionality over time, much like mobile devices stay up to date through over-the-air software pushes, keeping vehicles digitally relevant and enhancing their residual value.
Driven by the Cloud and Connectivity
Remember those 100 million lines of code? Today, changing that code is time consuming and expensive, not to mention complex when vehicles have vertically integrated software and hardware.
In the future, that code won’t be bound to the vehicle itself, nor will it be tied to specific hardware configurations. By decoupling the previously integrated software and hardware, Wipro’s Cloud Car platform enables manufacturers to validate and upgrade software at an unprecedented digital scale. And with features and functions driven by software, costly recalls will be a distant memory, as hotfixes become possible with the simple push of a button.
Achieving this requires a software-defined system that integrates with products and services from equipment providers, network operators and cloud hyperscalers. Their involvement in our Cloud Car ecosystem makes it possible to ensure accurate data capture and near-real-time transmission, analysis and feedback. It also enables the vehicle – through advanced AI and machine learning – to remain aware of and respond to inputs both inside and outside its doors, even when the underlying software is miles away.
Mapping the Cloud Car Journey, with Functional Safety at its Core
The automotive industry may very well become the key software developers of tomorrow. But today, it codes too slowly. The notion of innovative software is attractive, and traditional auto manufacturers aspire to develop cutting-edge applications. But like any 125-year-old, it’s developed some habits that are difficult to break.
Ever since the automobile was invented in the late 1800s, it’s been defined by a hardware-focused operating model. While effective for welding steel and installing lights, this model simply does not enable the agile and iterative approach necessary to develop the software that will define the vehicles of tomorrow. The upstart manufacturers that have gained traction so quickly were born from a software generation, the progeny of designers and software engineers whose “fail fast, fail forward” mantra is at odds with the “just don’t fail” approach of hardware fabricators.
But the desire to change is there. The vision is there. Traditional auto manufacturers want to evolve, and they want to do it quickly. With the right partners, such as the 40+ included in Wipro’s Cloud Car ecosystem, they can regain their ability to disrupt and innovate, and they can recapture both their lost mojo and market share.
Wipro’s ecosystem combines an uncompromised “safety first” approach with the need for agile delivery by allowing mixed criticality apps to co-exist in a cloud-native platform that spans the vehicle inside and out.
Transitioning from a traditional automotive engineering approach to these cloud engineering principles will enable manufacturers to design and release SDVs with greater agility and speed, effectively creating what feels like a new vehicle every day. Partner with Wipro as we transform hardware/software orchestration and empower the automotive industry to drive cloud-enabled mobility at scale.