This month Autotech Council meets to explore the new evolution of the car. No longer will engineering evolutions be exclusively cut in steel, but will be present in lines of code. The defining features of a given vehicle will be in its sensors, its perception, its compute, its connectivity, its infotainment, and in its self-drive ability or ADAS. Join Autotech Council members, OEMs, automotive suppliers, mobility startups and VCs as we look at the Software Defined Vehicle, and discuss how this will affect the auto industry.
Silicon Valley, California, August 11, 2023/Meeting Recap/ The Autotech Council gathered this month to explore a major trend in the evolution of the modern vehicle. No longer are engineering evolutions cut into rigid steel and hardware but will be written in malleable lines of code. The limiting features of a given vehicle will be in its sensors, its perception, its compute, its connectivity, its infotainment, and in its self-drive ability or ADAS. But within those constraints, an unlimited number of feature and functions can be written in software and reproduced across multiple vehicles with almost zero marginal cost. By centralizing the compute power in a few high-power Internet-connected computers instead of isolating it in 150 ECUs around the car, the way the car operates will be defined by something more like an OS and apps than hardware.
Our meeting discussed ideas around the SDV’s architecture and revealed what kinds of services and features will be enabled. We heard from Roger Lanctot of TechInsights, as he opened the meeting with a great presentation that set a baseline of comprehension around SDV, as well as some trends to watch. Amazon (AWS) Stefano Marzani explained to us how cars may be “cloudified” or how features that previously were built into hardware could still be so if desired, but the hardware would be a Virtual Machine running in software on a more standardized platform. Open architectures would ease development, lower costs, speed testing, etc. Software continues to eat everything.
Our panel gave us examples of some of the challenges on the transition, but also some of the features and services that would be enabled, such as using ADAS sensors such as cameras for security, or driving data for insurance and claims, or connectivity for keyless shared-car fleet enablement. Thanks to Elektrobit's Ryan Goff, Synapse Partners' Evangelos Simoudis, and Sonatus' Jeff Chou. Jeff also had a demo table that showed their systems at work during the breaks.
Some of the general take-aways from the meeting were that standards will be adopted, but will come “on the fly” after proprietary solutions have already been adopted. Collaboration will become increasingly important, as it generally is when apps are built on a platform. Many more car features will be sold aaS, and features that are known to customers as “fully hardware” like heated seats won’t work aaS, but things that are “servicy”, connected, and updated frequently, like Nav or Self-Driving DO make sense when offered aaS.
As usual, we had a set of great innovative companies present in the rapid-fire format. Presentations are online for our members. Thanks again to our great hosts, Hyundai Cradle, and our volunteer question panel, Adam Beel of Honda Innovations, and Donna Taylor of Denso.