Advanced technologies such as IoT and AI are bringing in transformational changes in the automotive industry. It is not only revolutionizing the way people travel from one point to another but is also unfolding a whole new world of opportunities and possibilities for the OEMs and all the other players in the ecosystem states Sanjay Dhar, Director- India, Elektrobit (EB) during an interview with Niloy from BISinfotech. The veteran also pans across many facets of modern automotive industry. Edited Excerpts Below.
Is Elektrobit’s key focus on the need for a shift from hardware to software-defined vehicles?
As the vehicle continues to transition itself from a hardware-based machine to a software-based electronic device, the amount of software (or lines of code) and the complexity of software in the vehicle is continuously increasing. In the past, the vehicles were assembled from many different hardware components with no software or connectivity at all. Then embedded software-enabled new functions and first connectivity was introduced to connect the different ECUs in an in-vehicle network. Today vehicles getting connected to the cloud have become common and standard. In the future, autonomous driving along with new mobility solutions will have a fundamental impact on the vehicle software and the ecosystems in which the connected vehicle is embedded.
In addition, hardware is becoming commoditized and the percentage of software costs compared to the overall vehicle costs is continuously increasing, hence shifting the focus from hardware- to software-defined vehicles.
As automakers take a vigorous shift towards EVs, the space of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging is changing. What are the differences between V1G and V2G?
As the percentage of electric vehicles on the road increases, optimal charging of these vehicles becomes a key focus area. The primary difference between V1G and V2G is that V1G is unidirectional while V2G is bidirectional. To elaborate a bit more, V1G involves varying the time or rate at which an electric vehicle is charged in order to provide ancillary services to the grid, while V2G additionally includes reverse power flow which means that the electric vehicles are equipped to provide electricity back to the grid. There are other concepts such as “vehicle-to-home (V2H)” and “vehicle-to-building (V2B)” which means the vehicle can act as a source of power and can power homes and buildings. We have our own solution for V2G charging (https://www.elektrobit.com/products/ecu/ebtresos/v2g-chargein/) through which we help carmakers and Tier 1 suppliers to implement charging solutions inside charge control ECUs within short development cycles with our off-theshelf Classic AUTOSAR basic software products, tailor-made for OEM requirements.
At what level does Elektrobit assist automotive players and their respective clients? Are there any key flagship offerings that you want to highlight stating this dynamic market?
Elektrobit (EB) is an award-winning and visionary global supplier of embedded and connected software products and services for the automotive industry. A leader in automotive software with over 30 years serving the industry, EB’s software powers over one billion devices in more than 100 million vehicles and offers flexible, innovative solutions for car infrastructure software, connectivity & security, automated driving and related tools, and user experience.
Being an international supplier of embedded software solutions and services for the automotive industry, what changes and trends do you reckon have been shaping up this space?
‘CASE’ is a megatrend that is transforming the automotive industry globally. Some of the key global trends across each area of CASE is as follows:
- Connected – With connected vehicles becoming ubiquitous, data has become the new oil. Every player in the ecosystem wants to own and monetize the data. And with concerns around data privacy and security, topics such as cybersecurity is coming to prominence.
- Autonomous – We are observing trends such as autonomous delivery, autonomous public transport, and modular autonomous PODs in this space.
- Shared – AI-enabled personalized experience is one of the key trends emerging in this space.
- Electric – V2G and automatic billing in charging stations are some of the key trends in this space.
How distant is the future of an autonomous car and at what level of autonomy is Elektrobit supporting its clients?
Fully autonomous vehicles are already being driven in some parts of the world. We have our products and offer services for automated driving functions across the following categories: 1. Automated driving software components; 2. Automated driving test and validation; 3. ADAS and automated driving engineering services; 4. Environmental model.
For markets such as India, until the fully autonomous car becomes a reality, we will focus on providing advanced driver assistance functionalities such as driver fatigue detection, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, adaptive lighting to name a few, to improve drivability and make the drive safer.
Impact of advanced technologies such as IoT and AI in the automotive space?
Advanced technologies such as IOT and AI are bringing in transformational changes in the automotive industry. It is not only revolutionizing the way people travel from one point to another but is also unfolding a whole new world of opportunities and possibilities for the OEMs and all the other players in the ecosystem. Broadly speaking, IOT technologies are transforming vehicles in the following two ways: 1. The customer’s vehicle will become a part of their personal IoT environment consisting of smart home functions, wearable devices, etc.; 2. The vehicle will become an IoT device in the smart city environment where it will have to interact with other vehicles, intelligent street lights, intelligent traffic signals, and other infrastructure components. Application of AI technology in the automotive space is enabling functionalities across the following areas: 1. Personalized and customized experience to the drivers and passengers; 2. Increasing safety for the drive, the road, and the driver through driver assistance functionalities; 3. Enhancing the vehicle-customer relationship (VRM) through remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance functionalities.
How do you see India as a market for Elektrobit and trends specific to India to sculpture the indigenous market?
India is an important market for us, and we are focusing to grow our business in the India market. Some of the key trends we are observing in the India market are:
- Connected vehicle services and apps
- Remote diagnostics and OTA features
- Four-wheelers and two-wheelers with ADAS and ARAS functionalities respectively
- Security and functional safety
Lately, Elektrobit (EB) successfully completed five years in India. Is there an anecdote on the journey so far and an outlook specific to the business model and market strategies to keep the momentum strong?
In the last five years, we have grown tremendously in size, content, and areas of operations. Our constant endeavor has been to create and deliver more value to our headquarters, other EB locations, and to the local market. We view our R&D engineering center in Bangalore as an automotive software hub from where we can also enhance our local customer business offerings. India is also looked at as an innovation partner for our product development activities for our global customers. Hence, we will continue investing in similar proportions and add head count in India in the future too.