Contechs: Bringing Software Defined Vehicles to the Market

Software Defined Vehicles set to digitally transform automotive industry, must overcome internal supply chain challenges to effectively meet the market

Automobile manufacturers and design specialists like Contechs are radically transforming the automotive industry through Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs). By retaining functionality, features and operations through software instead of redundant vehicle hardware, SDVs enable superior performance and evolution compared to traditional vehicles. They offer tremendous flexibility and customisation, are more sustainable through optimised energy consumption and drive more efficiently. 

However, the industry faces major challenges when bringing these vehicles to market. Here are the five biggest. 

05: Standardisation of functional hardware

Functional hardware like sensors and actuators are built with a unique interface and traditionally delivered to OEMs by suppliers as a black box. As the industry transitions to SDV this must change, and interfaces must become upgradeable and replaceable.

04: Regulatory Framework

To safely and responsibly integrate SDVs into existing transportation systems Governments and authorities need to establish comprehensive regulations. Doing so will require the revaluation of existing legal and regulatory policies as they relate to traditional vehicles, as drivers adapt to encountering and using SDVs on the road.

03: High computing demands of SDVs

Modern vehicles process millions of lines of code and terabytes of data. The amount they process will only increase as vehicles grow more intelligent. OEMs must move to centralised computing platforms with System-on-chip (SoC) to meet the addition of AI, data generation and complex code. 

Another important aspect is manufacturers' responsibility to protect user privacy rights. Robust privacy frameworks are needed to ensure the responsible storage, collection and use of SDV data as it increases.

02: Cybersecurity

As manufacturing increasingly relies on emerging technologies, cybersecurity has emerged as a critical vulnerability and concern. Companies must prioritise their security infrastructure, implementing measures and training staff to protect SDVs from unauthorised access and hacking. The consequences if a manufacturer's SDV was remotely accessed by a cybercriminal seeking to extort them could be catastrophic.

01: Reducing time-to-market

Because SDV allows for remote software updates, there is additional pressure on the software development process, resulting in a higher risk of error. To manage this, specialised DevOps workbenches could be implemented to run digital twins of sub-systems and vehicles using vehicle data from the Cloud. These digital twins would help manufacturers detect issues before software or vehicle release. It is essential that SDV manufacturers mandate robust quality control, validation checks and testing before and after production, to ensure the vehicles are as safe, reliable and efficient as possible.

How can supply chain manufacturers effectively bring SDV’s to market 

The global software-defined vehicle market is set to more than double, from US$32.6bn in 2022 to US$80bn in 2027 according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. This rapid growth reflects both the relative immaturity of the SDV space and the strategic importance manufacturers are placing on them. Without overcoming this immaturity, manufacturers will struggle to effectively bring SDVs to market. The root cause of this immaturity is the difficulty of transitioning from hardware to software-defined product lines. In order to transistion, manufacturers need to transform deeply entrenched operating models, and take critical action.

The first of these is to enable cross-functional collaboration, integrating software and mechanical engineering teams and shifting from a function-focused mindset to a product-focused one. The second is to accommodate greater operational complexity to automotive value chains, to ensure interoperability. The third is to embrace agile development cycles, growing more consumer-centric and learning how to innovate continuously and deliver updates that meet market desires. The fourth is to mitigate cybersecurity risks, adopting ‘security by design’ practices that will secure new products and systems against internal threats. 

More than anything, supply chain manufacturers need to embrace continuous innovation to effectively bring SDVs to market, a fact that Contechs recognises.

“Driving innovation is at the core of Contechs’ business strategy. Our expanded service portfolio and integration of industry leaders into the Contechs team signals the launch of an exciting new chapter for the business.” Peter Jarvis, CEO of Contechs said. “We are committed to delivering unparalleled design support to our clients and staying at the forefront of innovation. We have a clear vision to lead the future development of mobility and connected services."

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