A(utomotive) race is on.
Automotive is going through one of the biggest transformations among all industries. Since its inception, for decades, it focused on hardware and horsepower. Now, the entire sector needs to reconsider the supply chain ties, the relationships with customers and the way vehicles are being produced. Not too dissimilar to what we witnessed with mobile telephony moving from handset form-factors to user interfaces, the battleground in automotive is becoming defined by software.
The explanation is simple – digital transformation. The industry, that historically has been dominated by the traditional and well-established car manufacturers is under pressure. Industry 4.0, the accelerated use of technology – SAP, AI/ML, HPC, robotics, Edge not only made production “smarter” and more efficient, it has opened gates for non-traditional entrants. Just like in mobile industry, the significance of hardware is being overshadowed by software.
Cars are no more just a comfortable mean of transportation. While on the road, we have come to expect to be able to make conference calls, take advantage of a precise navigations system with updates on petrol prices and restaurant menus, trade shares while on the move, be up-to-date with the news and, most importantly, keep our kids entertained at the back of the car with live streaming of their favourites cartoons. We want our cars to have advanced self-diagnostic to notify us when oil needs changing. As icing on the cake, of course, we expect cars to be intelligent and be able not only to predict potential danger on the road but to prevent collisions. And it is not just imagination – aerospace industry has been using autopilot functions for decades. Such complex functionality is delivered by sophisticated software systems and applications that processes vast amount of data in fractions of seconds. In other words – the cars are managed by powerful software.
But let us not forget the production line too – in our fast-paced world, customers expect things to be delivered to the market instantaneously. These expectations force manufacturers to significantly streamline and optimise processes and production. Here software comes in handy again.
This is why automotive industry, car manufacturers and suppliers increase collaboration with established software vendors like SUSE, who work hand-in-hand with leaders such as Continental, Bosch, Daimler to face the challenges with IT infrastructures, production processes, up- and downtime, and productivity. Partnerships with software suppliers, like Elektrobit, take the challenge of transforming cars into connectivity hubs and “computers on wheels” (a true representation of mobile world we live in).
Connectivity and increased share of on-board software enable vehicle advanced features, unlock new revenue streams and deliver better customers insights. Now, car manufacturers, in addition to their core knowledge, need to find ways to be able to seamlessly integrate software with vehicle systems, as well as to provide maintenance and support to “mini datacentres on wheels”. Millions of them that are geographically dispersed, not stationary and not connected to an ethernet cable for a fast and successful software update.
This is where, in order to help the automotive sector with this transformation, experts in enterprise-grade software, like SUSE, step in to offer the knowledge and support for a verified, fully supported open-source stack with tools to simplify applications build and deployment.