The automotive industry has historically responded to rapid technology advancements in a fast but familiar way: by integrating tech into vehicles at the hardware level. Although this has sufficed for years, the average modern vehicle now has more than 100 million lines of code. This reality has enabled upstart brands with more software savvy than manufacturing moxie to gain market share and high valuations. Between this new competition and increasing software complexities, traditional automakers are challenged not only to innovate and lead, but to ensure the safety and security standards they’ve upheld for a generation. Amid this struggle, a new truth has emerged: the demand for new software-defined features and the current automotive architecture are no longer compatible.
As the auto industry moves closer to making smart devices with wheels, manufacturers need to shift from their existing work structures to an approach that empowers them to quickly develop, deploy and maintain software. This shift requires them to embrace the cloud.
Building Diverse Functions on a Single Platform
What enabled upstarts to gain ground quickly was their more-agile approach to software development. Unbound by a hardware-oriented mindset, they could innovate and iterate at remarkable speed using thousands of developers. It’s difficult to undo decades of hardware-centric engineering, so how can traditional OEMs catch up? By leveraging a model long trusted in other areas of their business: the ecosystem.
Automotive manufacturers will always, and rightfully, focus on safety. With an ecosystem, they can also rapidly bridge their skills gaps by tapping into experts in software development, data security, and advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), 5G and more. Wipro’s Cloud Car ecosystem was created with this outcome in mind, a platform that empowers OEMs to accelerate and yet simplify the development of software-defined vehicles.
This ecosystem includes a consortium of 40+ experts in many technology disciplines, bringing an app-style development and architecture to the automotive platform. Whereas today, there is a tight relationship between automotive software and hardware, in the Cloud Car ecosystem, the hardware-software relationship is largely decoupled. In this new cloud-native structure, microservices and containers transform automotive software development, freeing manufacturers to innovate in non-essential areas like infotainment while ensuring critical safety and security features separately – yet all from a single platform.
Over-the-Air Safety, No More Recalls
Having partnered with the automotive sector for decades, Wipro built the Cloud Car ecosystem with safety at its core. Critical apps are isolated for faster certification and maintenance, while non-critical apps can take full advantage of agile software development speeds using microservices, containers, edge computing and more.
The decoupling makes it possible to provide updates over-the-air – much like smartphones are automatically updated – to launch new features, new services and even hotfixes without ever needing the vehicle to leave the owner’s driveway. This is only possible by loosely integrating products and services from equipment providers, network operators and cloud hyperscalers. And with central processing that aggregates data, AI and ML can generate powerful insights for OEMs and auto owners alike.
The ecosystem approach enables manufacturers to achieve faster time-to-market for new features and services, reduce complexity, simplify management and security for each feature, and open the window to more agility and innovation. As a result, OEMs can quickly respond to market demands and regain the leadership positions they enjoyed for decades.
Putting Software-Defined Vehicles Within Reach
Achieving their vision of a software-defined vehicle may seem like an out-of-reach concept for many large brands, but an ecosystem approach can quickly bridge the gap. Technology overall, and automotive technology in particular, is becoming too complex to sustainably tackle it alone. Manufacturers need to transform from their existing automotive engineering approach to the cloud-based engineering principles that a Cloud Car ecosystem provides.
With a consortium of experts across many technologies and automotive disciplines, manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers benefit immediately from reliable and experienced partners. They can quickly modernize their framework to bring app-style development to vehicles. They can accelerate the rollout of features and services that bring new value to drivers and open new revenue streams for OEMs. And they can centralize data analysis from all systems to unlock insights that will drive innovation and services beyond what is possible today.
How to Address Safety and Security for Software-Defined Vehicles
Just as cellphones morphed into pocket computers, vehicles have become connected smart devices on wheels. With more lines of code than the largest operating system, the current complexity of a software-defined vehicle (SDV) can negatively impact time-to-market and, ultimately, the pace of innovation. Even more importantly, at least for the automotive sector, these complexities can impede the ability to meet safety and security requirements.
Reimagining the vehicle architecture can address these challenges. With an ecosystem of partners to help them embrace this engineering revolution, manufacturers can separate safety and security from non-critical features, enabling them to ease the burden of certification while accelerating user-facing innovation using open-source tools. In the process, they can bring new features and functionality to market faster than ever before.