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How Software Is Taking Over the Automotive Industry

How Software Is Taking Over the Automotive Industry 

The rise of autonomous vehicles has resulted in a tectonic shift in the automotive industry, and car manufacturing companies also must evolve. The emergence of software bodes well for these automakers. According to a study by Morgan Stanley, software and application will soon make up almost 60% of autonomous vehicles. Meanwhile, the growth rate for traditional automobiles will decline, while the non-software vehicle segment could remain stagnant.

Here’s how software is taking over the automotive industry.

1. More Time Spent in Vehicles (Autonomous Driving) 

The first major change that software is causing to the automotive industry is giving people more time to spend in their vehicles. Many people are spending an enormous amount of time in their cars nowadays. And with the advent of autonomous vehicles, the time people spend in cars will increase even more.

Since the responsibility to control the car is on the computers, those demographics with limited or no engagement with driving, such as people with disabilities and older people, will no longer have to face any constraints. In addition, since the driving experience is now more pleasant, consumers will be happy to spend longer in their vehicles. Research shows that AV technology can increase the vehicle miles travelled by as much as 20%.

Along with the increased driving time is the increased time people spend in vehicles. The logic is simple – since vehicles evolve into self-driving units, people have extra time to perform other tasks while travelling. The pace at which these changes will happen depends on the technological advances. However, experts believe self-driving technology can free up almost 2 trillion minutes of idle time.

2. Software-Defined Vehicles 

Automotive companies are changing their culture and business to mimic technology companies instead of merely car manufacturers. They do not rely on subcontractors to add whatever software they want. Instead, car companies act as system integrators and technology platforms their suppliers can “plug into.” As a result, the car will become an operating system.

Furthermore, car manufacturers should be more comfortable with the various requirements and features defined in the software layer instead of built into the car’s hardware. It also means car owners can expect to receive upgrades and updates during the entire lifetime of their vehicle, similar to what Apple iOS is doing to the users of their devices. As a result, car manufacturers must define the highest-level system requirements and specify the key integration points, all while offering governance to suppliers. That way, varying updates will not interfere with each other.

As consumers, we tend to experience inconveniences if an update on the operating system is not compatible with some application software or printer drivers. It can be devastating if the same happens to a vehicle, especially one running at 100 mph on a highway.

3. Higher Demand for Engineers 

The increasing use of new technologies in the automotive industry has resulted in high demand for recruiting automotive software engineers, great for those currently seeking a job in the industry. The automotive software industry has recently become one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, along with the rapid progression of automotive technologies. Many companies seek to gain a first-mover advantage by creating software solutions with the help of automotive software engineers.

As a software engineer, one of the responsibilities is to look for suitable software that can work well in a vehicle. They also control the overall functions of cars and sometimes assist the driver with information about different car technologies.

In some companies, automotive software engineers will design and develop software systems using in-car technologies. To qualify, many car manufacturing companies require them to have hands-on experience with various industry standards. They must be able to attend to details and demonstrate good competence in-car technologies.

As more automotive software technologies emerge, from autonomous vehicles to vehicle connectivity and advanced diagnostics, the demand for automotive software engineers also rises. If you love working with automobiles and computers, you should consider a career in automotive software engineering.

4. Importance of Ensuring Quality And Safety 

You must have heard the news about the recent models of Electric Vehicles having safety concerns, from the new drivetrain to driving assistance technologies. Since traditional vehicle manufacturers are moving too slowly, startups are rushing to beta-test their products for consumers on public roads, leading to disaster. As a result, there has been a need to look for new frameworks that allow companies to be more agile in upgrading and deploying their platforms while ensuring safety at the same time.

One of the most exciting developments in automotive software technology is the adoption of SAFe or Scaled Agile Framework. Such a concept serves as a blueprint for helping several companies in a supply chain to work together to develop and test software adequately. However, in real-time safety systems like the automotive industry, companies must adhere to additional practices that align with what ISO 26262 requires.

5. The Rise of Mobility as a Service 

Another fundamental change that software is causing in the automotive industry is the rise of mobility as a service, also known as transportation as a service. It refers to a change away from personally-owned vehicles to using mobility solutions on an on-demand basis.

There are two factors underlying the trend. The past decade has already witnessed a shift in the perception of consumers in car ownership, away from the status symbol and towards utility. Car ownership has waned for several years, likely due to the changing sentiments among the younger demographics. Notwithstanding autonomous vehicles, advanced economies are seeing a decline in car ownership and self-driving cars can accelerate the trend.

Augmenting the trend is the rapid growth of on-demand ride-sharing service apps like Lyft and Uber, with a whopping 84 billion market size and growing steadily. And with the increasing need for car-hailing services like Uber, there’s a blurred line diving into the trend. The continuous demand for these services will likely drive the Mobility-as-a-Service in the coming years.

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