„Software is a Game Changer…
… and data is the new oil“. The message that the experts gave at the Internationalen VDI-Kongress ELIV (ELectronics In Vehicles) is clear. The event took place on 16 and 17 October in Bonn and showcased the latest developments in the automotive field.
According to ELIV Congress Manager Uwe Michael, who willingly shared his vision of the future “The automobile industry is up for more changes in the next two years than it has seen in the last 50 years. We are going to witness a revolutionary change and software will continue to play a major role. The number of innovations continues to rise at a faster pace and - allowing a direct comparison - has outpaced other areas like electronics by far“, Michael outlined in his opening panel.
Which software technology is going to be key?
There was no need to convince participants that software and data will be the currency of the future. In an interactive live survey, participants assessed which role the different software technologies will play as the sector is headed for a fundamental transformation process. In multiple votings the attendees could state their three favourites. The results are listed below.
In light of the upcoming shift in the automotive industry, 59% of attendees assessed the significance of Cyber Security in the transformation process to be most substantial, closely followed by Artificial Intelligence (45%) and Over the air updates (40%). According to the experts, Big Data / Cloud Computing as well as Connected Car /IoT (each 32 %) plus Embedded Software (31 %) will also continue to play a major role. The importance they attach to Blockchain Technology (9%) in this transformation process, on the other hand, is significantly lower.
When participants were asked to take a look at the future of autonomous driving, they were slightly disillusioned: According to today’s prevailing view, they believe that the car will have assumed all driving functions from the human being only by 2030. This is in contradiction to what they believed at the ELIV in 2017. At that time the common understanding was that autonomous driving would already be widely used in 2025. But that optimism has been somewhat dampened. The common perception is now that the implementation of this new technology will take longer. Facing these facts, Congress Leader Michael is taking a harsh, self-critical look: “This means that we have done nothing over the last two years. We have to face reality and really should do our homework now. Which path are we going to follow? And what kind of software do we need to be able to do that? We need open-plan architectures and we have to foster agility in our workstyle and rely on cooperative partnerships.“
Software as an Enabler of Structural Change
Especially the costs for software development are growing at a tremendous rate. „We are talking about billions of Euro, which a manufacturer is likely to spend“, said Prof. Dr. Lutz Eckstein at this year’s press conference to the journalists. He is the Director of the Institut für Kraftfahrzeuge (ika) of the RWTH Aachen, Chairman of the Advisory Board of fka GmbH and the VDI association Vehicle and Traffic Engineering (VDI-FVT). Him and the other doers see only one way out: mutual cooperation.
Helmut Matschi (Member of the Board, Division Interior, Continental AG) is able to put it in a nutshell in his response to the press „Connected Cars need Connected Businesses“. According to him we need to rid ourselves of entrenched positions in our work methods and adopt a more flexible approach. Likewise, we need project partners who respond quickly to changing needs. At the same time we ought to lay emphasis on High-Performance Computing. In his view, the goal is a server-based E/E-architecture, which forms the foundation for the automated, fully connected and intelligent vehicle. “In order to provide the computing capacity for artificial intelligence in the vehicle, we need appropriate platforms “, the engineer explains.
Dr. Peter Steiner (Managing Director, Audi Electronics Venture GmbH) shares his view. According to him, software plays a major role in the ongoing structural change within the sector. The increasing digitization offers excellent opportunities, however, a uniform software platform across the entire vehicle range is a key requirement. This would bring tremendous cost savings and at the same time make it easier to offer end users innovative software packages “, Steiner says.
ELIV 2021 – Mission Transformation
In light of the transformation in the automotive sector the ELIV is also expected to undergo some changes. It has traditionally been of a nature which keeps abreast of developments, of one that embraces new trends and topics – which is why from now on a growing proportion of software technology will be reflected in the list of exhibitors as well as in the agenda. This year we recorded some 1,350 attendants and 135 exhibitors.
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Author: Stefan Schneider, Product Manager, VNI CVS Intelligent Transportation Systems, Continental Aftermarket & Services GmbH, Aschheim, Germany