The AECC recently held a non-member Summit that allowed attendees from the broader ecosystem to learn about our goals, interact with the Board of Directors, and discuss the continuing evolution of the connected vehicle services market. This year, the opening keynote presentation, “How the Software-Defined Vehicle Changes Everything,” was presented by Alex Oyler, Director of SBD Automotive – North America. Alex helped our audience understand how the business of designing, building, selling, and supporting software-defined vehicles (SDVs) is evolving through his extensive experience in the field.   


To begin, Alex explained the five key features of SDVs:  

  1. SDVs allow software to be designed, developed, and tested entirely in a virtualized environment, leveraging the cloud’s scale to simulate vehicle software. This leads to an easier path to simulation, which is a critical barrier to ensuring safe qualification and deployment of software in vehicles. 
  2. To achieve a level of simulation scalability, SDVs require multiple layers of hardware and software across different domains.  
  3. SDVs give OEMs the ability to dynamically implement new business models and customer experiences. OEM brands are taking on the ownership of building direct relationships with consumers from the vehicle manufacturer to drive after-sales revenue.  
  4. SDVs disrupt automotive electronics supply chains. Much of the software development that had previously been entrusted to tier-one suppliers is now being done by the OEMs themselves. In some cases, OEMs are even designing and specifying the computer hardware to enable specialized applications, like edge computing.  
  5. The core SDV software stack is largely non-differentiating, which is an attractive feature for OEMs.   


So, what is the role of the AECC when it comes to software-defined vehicles?  

In SDVs, computing at the edge is essential. Throughout his session, Alex explained that edge data services are an enabler for the SDV space. He also argued that there is a long-term vision reflected in the investments OEM and vendor communities are making around edge computing capabilities. In most discussions around edge computing with SDVs, most of the computing workload is in the vehicle rather than using multi-access edge compute or private local compute. It is the automakers’ primary focus to define how data is processed within the vehicle since this is where the most immediate benefit and enablement of use cases are found.  

OEMs are just starting to take on the responsibility of developing in-vehicle software and roadmaps in SDVs. Many OEMs are up leveling their computer architecture, increasing the flexibility and capabilities of computing inside the vehicle as they move up the hierarchy. The number of startups and some established vendors investing in vehicle-to-cloud integrated computer platforms continue to grow, and it is predicted that the edge market for software-defined vehicles will see significant gains in the next two to four years. 

As technology continues to advance, we have seen incredible evolution in the automotive space. With the development of SDVs, the promise of next-generation connected vehicle services and more, there’s no question that the future of the automotive industry space is bright. We are living in an exciting time for this industry, and here at the AECC, we’re proud to help drive the ecosystem toward the next level of vehicle connectivity.  


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