Software-Defined Vehicles – engineering the vehicles of tomorrow

26th February 2024
Sheryl Miles

Software-Defined Vehicles (SDVs) are set to ‘radically transform’ the automotive industry for the better, says Contechs, an automotive design and engineering company.

The award-winning global automotive consultancy has already taken steps to evolve its services for a future led by this emerging technology.

Unlike conventional vehicles, Software-Defined Vehicles have the ability to manage their functionality, operations, and features primarily through their software, rather than relying on the redundant hardware of the vehicle.

This provides original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with a foundation for autonomous driving, connected cars, and over-the-air updates, enabling the technology and functionality that today’s motorists demand.

Contechs has invested in a dedicated team for Connected Car services to innovate new ways of developing SDV technology for its global OEM clients.

Leading this new centre of competence is Saad Dar, who recently joined Contechs as Head of Electronics.

Speaking about this emerging technology, Saad said: “Software-Defined Vehicles are leading the automotive industry through a radical transformation. This new generation of vehicles will provide a huge leap forward for vehicle safety, technology, and adaptability.”

Through in-depth analysis of this technology, Contechs has identified three core challenges the industry faces before bringing these vehicles to market:

High computing demands of SDVs – terabytes of data and millions of lines of code are processed by modern vehicles, and this is only expected to increase as vehicles become more intelligent. With increased data generation, complex code and the addition of upcoming AI, OEMs will need to move to centralised computing platforms with System on Chip (SoC) to meet all computing needs of the vehicle.

Standardisation of functional hardware – traditionally delivered to OEMs by suppliers as a black box, these are each built to their own unique interfaces. As the industry transitions to SDVs, functional hardware such as sensors and actuators must have a standard interface that is replaceable and upgradable.

Reducing time-to-market – with the ability to update software over the air, this adds pressure to the software development process. It is instrumental to have a strong testing and validation approach during pre- and post-production. Specialised DevOps workbenches need to be implemented to use vehicle data from the Cloud to run digital twins of sub-systems and vehicles to detect any issues before vehicle or software release.

Contechs is tackling the fundamental issues of SDVs, leveraging its expanded engineering resource, network, and recruitment division to provide innovations and expertise for its global OEM clients.

The global automotive consultancy is also investing in a first-of-its-kind Systems Engineering Training Academy, which aims to upskill traditional engineers and train graduate engineers to be equipped to develop the next generation of vehicles. Launching in 2024, Contechs aims to add software development and validation courses to its curriculum in 2025.

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