Study: Software increasingly invades business models for car OEMs

Market news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The Automotive Software Survey 2021 illustrates how business models in the automotive industry are changing. For the study, 140 international experts from the automotive and supplier industry as well as the software sector were surveyed. 56% of the respondents assume that car manufacturers will already generate more than 5% of their turnover in 2027 through the sale of software that is played on the vehicle via OTA updates. 21% of the experts even assume that software sales will already account for more than 10% of turnover in 2027. The clients of the study conclude from these figures that car manufacturers will have to transform themselves into software groups, because there is increasing revenue and profit potential in the sale of software functions.

45% of the respondents expect each connected vehicle to receive two to six OTA updates in 2025. 15% of the participants even see up to 24 OTA updates per year. The experts thus expect a significant increase in software updates carried out wirelessly. Software updates will no longer be used only to fix bugs reactively, but for continuous and frequent updates and uploading of new features. The study results suggest an increasing demand for cost-efficient solutions for OTA updates in the automotive industry. Citing a joint analysis with consultancy Guidehouse, Auroralabs believes that automotive manufacturers can save nearly $100 million annually in data transfer costs by using smaller delta files for updates. In addition to the cost of OTA updates, security and redundancy of the solution are most important to 34% of the experts surveyed, as well as a seamless user experience by performing updates without downtime for 26%.

Two-thirds of the industry experts surveyed assume that by 2027 at the latest, more than one million vehicles per year will be manufactured worldwide that have sophisticated E/E architectures (domain or central computers with software virtualisation). This shows the importance of the UNECE’s WP.29 regulations for regulating software updates to ensure vehicle safety. The catalogue of regulations stipulates in which cases a new type approval for vehicles is required after a software update. According to the survey by Strategy Analytics and Aurora Labs, only 14% of experts currently assume that the automotive industry will be able to meet the WP.29 requirements as early as 2022. 37% are in favour of postponing the implementation of the regulations until 2024.

The clients of the survey also wanted to find out how software quality management is faring in the automotive industry. 47% of the experts surveyed state that it is difficult to see through the mutual relationships between control units of vehicles. This can be remedied by solutions that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand the dependencies between software systems and thus proactively detect software anomalies. Industry experts agree that these technologies are urgently needed: 93% of respondents believe that it is important or very important to proactively fix software anomalies after vehicle delivery, rather than just reacting to them to avoid recalls.

The study also takes a look at the electrification process in the car market: In recent months, registrations of electric cars in Germany, Europe’s most important market – and not only here – have risen sharply. However, the e-offensive is threatened with a setback: 53% of the industry experts surveyed by Strategy Analytics and Aurora Labs assume that the current semiconductor shortage will delay electrification initiatives by at least six months. 15% of respondents even expect delays of one to two years.

Related articles:

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Standard emerges to help fight threat of automotive hacks

Genivi becomes Connected Vehicle Systems Alliance

VW starts OTA update scheme for ID. family

Implementing Secure Over-the-Air Updates in an Automotive ECU

Fixing software errors before they happen


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