Autonomous Driving: How It Started, How It’s Going

November 16th, 2021 by


When buying a traditional car, you can almost guarantee that the basics will remain the same for at least another seven years (at which point you’ll probably end up getting a new one). However, according to Claus Gruber, an expert for automotive software at the Strategy& consultancy, you should be prepared for your car to get an overhaul as often as “every three months”.

“You’ll likely get permanent software updates on your car’s functional and safety features, similar to those you get on your smartphone or laptop computer already today,” he told DW.

Gruber further explains that the main challenges that global automakers are facing as the car industry centers more on IT-based technologies that software development costs of future vehicles will likely double in the next decade, with the investment in self-driving cars estimated to account for most of the expenses, which is about 45%.

Strategy&’s study found that most cars of the future will likely be battery-powered, linked to networks, and smart in regards to autonomous driving. The combination of n-board digital entertainment and shared-mobility features will also necessitate computing technology with some thunderous power.

Current Challenges

Of course, electronics and built-in software are likely a standard feature in every automobile from nearly every automaker, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to be done, and supposedly future vehicles will encompass a “domain controller”, which is a dominant computer that is powerful enough to monitor all the various devices and their functions.

“The central computer will become the ‘brain’ of the car as it’s in charge of operating and controlling everything,” says Gruber, also mentioning that this software will receive over-the-air updates from 5G mobile networks or smartphones.

A New World For The Car Industry

Gruber also thinks that these techy changes will eventually change the culture of the carmaking industry because the current standard of building engineered cars without fault and of high mechanical quality will no longer be enough.

“More and more functions in a car will be taken over by software. Carmakers essentially will become software manufacturers, which in itself forces a shift in the corporate culture because the product that’s made is different.”

If you’ve ever felt frustrated over your smartphone experiencing a glitch due to an update, just imagine the level of stress that manufacturers are currently experiencing with the push of finding computerized solutions in their new designs.

A malfunction on their end is considered detrimental in the sense that it could potentially kill car occupants, which is why safety and capability made in a seamless form is non-negotiable. Gruber also says that this journey to safety is only possible through more collaborations between the car and technological industry.

“The auto industry and their suppliers need to forge alliances with technology companies in order to make their products meet high quality and safety standards,” he says.

Gruber expects that these collaborative efforts will result in the development of two or three efficient operating systems (OS) and being put to use by most automakers globally.

“We know this from our computers which all work on mainly three different operating systems, or from our smartphones where choices are essentially limited to only two,” Gruber said.

The Fear Of Big Tech

The push for creating a software standard for the automobile industry is already here, with businesses able to reach their goal in a timely manner expected to reap a large portion of the profits, specifically 50%, which is usually acquired by Big Tech companies.

For instance, Tesla announced that it will license its AutoPilot software meant for its self-autonomous driving and is attempting to sell it to its competitors. 

Interestingly enough, Wirtschaftswoche, a weekly business magazine in Germany, posed the question in a headline if the car making country would be “degraded to become the workbench of software companies.” This dramatic scenario was brought forth amid increasing concern that Big Tech industries like Apple and Google would soon take over the car market with their assets and fierce coding experience.

German Carmakers Aren’t Backing Down

In an effort to combat this possibility, Germany’s top car manufacturers are preparing software packages of their own, with intentions of setting the industry standard for the future. For example, BMW brought out an operating system dubbed BMW OS 7 and has installed it in its new cars since 2018. Other automakers like Daimler and Volkswagen are aiming to develop their own technological platforms.

Furthermore, Gruber stressed the transformation of the car industry will necessitate a swift implementation of digital solutions and a fat purse to sustain the pace of this change, also saying that alliances can help with this. “We need to bundle resources and human talent in this endeavor, which is why I’m recommending that carmakers from across the industry work closer together, and venture more alliances in the future,” said Gruber. 

Driver’s Auto Mart

While automakers have a long way to go until we’ve fully embraced the autonomous future,, we can still enjoy many of the technological advancements that have been made in cars of today…and for an affordable price. 

At Driver’s Auto Mart, we sell a wide range of vehicles that are pre-owned but are incredibly up-to-date, and filled with interior gadgets geared towards safety and entertainment. We sell cars from various different manufacturers such as Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, and more! 

Those who are interested in any of our vehicles can simply view our online used car inventory and chat with a representative for further assistance.

Photo Source/Copyright: Shutterstock via photographerAndrey_Popov