UPDATED 15:00 EST / MAY 20 2020


Intelligent vehicles demand agile updates, precipitating disruptive change in automotive industry

Intelligent, connected cars are proclaimed to be the wave of the future. Yet, software has been embedded in vehicles for over three decades.

As each generation of cars gets smarter, the user experience becomes more comfortable and more automated. And internal intelligent programming becomes more of an automotive essential than the internal combustion engine.

The company behind much of the software in modern vehicles is Elektrobit Automotive GmbH, which provides manufacturers such as Ford Motor Co. Peugeot SA, and Audi AG with embedded and connected software products and services.

“As software is becoming the second biggest enabler of the innovation in the car, we are driving this with our technologies,” said Alexander Kocher (pictured), president and managing director at Elektrobit Automotive.

Kocher spoke with Stu Miniman, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the SUSECON Digital event. They discussed the future of the automotive industry. (* Disclosure below.)

Top three automotive trends: Electrification, automation and connectivity

Elektrobit, known as EB, provides software that powers over a billion devices in hundreds of millions of cars. Innovation is happening from the basic infrastructure level, connectivity, security, and up into the user experience.

“This is application software mainly in the tooling to create fancy and good-looking user interfaces in modern vehicles,” Kocher said.

There are currently three classes of innovation trends within the automotive industry. The first is electrification, where “software is for sure playing a role but is more used as a supporting technology,” Kocher said. “Dominating innovation is coming from other technologies like battery, fuel cells, charging mechanisms, and so on.”

However, software innovation is dominant in the second and third trends: automated driving and connecting the car to the internet (making it a part of the internet of things). “These are two mega trends where software is dominating the scene and really also dominating the value of the car as well,” Kocher stated.

EB is working to develop new car architectures within all three of these areas “so that you can seamlessly integrate applications, services from the cloud into the car … during the whole life cycle of the car,” Kocher added.

Agile automotive updates are the new model

In order to accomplish this, the industry is looking at “a disruptive change in the development model,” where updates are performed not at dealerships, but continuously, and possibly for decades, according to Kocher.

“This requires new platforms … new partnership models,” he said.

Linking EB’s automotive expertise with open-source software company SUSE’s experience in other industries and with Linux distributions and container technologies will help fuel the disruption and create a new agile model for the automotive industry, according to Kocher. 

“I’m really sure that with that partnership, we enable our customers to focus on their innovations, and we will enable ourselves to provide the basic solutions for the industry, and for … new future intelligent vehicles,” Kocher concluded.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the SUSECON Digital event. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for SUSECON Digital. Neither SUSE, the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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