The software-defined vehicle platform: The future of mobility

Software is the key to tomorrow’s mobility – driven by the current megatrends, the importance, scope, and complexity of software in the vehicle is increasing massively.
Digital features are figuring ever more prominently across all lines of business, and this trend shows no signs of slowing. Digital solutions, apps, and the like are already fixtures of consumers’ day-to-day lives, and increasing numbers of drivers expect their vehicles to be fully integrated into this smart lifestyle. This requires new connectivity, automation, and personalization functions, more and more of which will be implemented with software. We are your partner for tailor-made software solutions and support you in the development of your software-defined vehicle.

ITK engineer and software-defind vehicle.

The software-defined vehicle as an outgrowth of megatrends

While hardware and mechanical features had been the great differentiators for brands, now software is taking on a much more important role. In the future, software will have a tremendous impact on the customer experience and even on vehicles’ hardware specifications. This software-defined vehicle, or SdV for short, is therefore an outgrowth of megatrends currently sweeping the globe – personalization, automated driving, connectivity, and electrification. It will give rise to new business models and digital services for customers. Above all, though, it is changing the way vehicles are engineered and how automakers are going to create value in the future.

Impact on the development

Vehicles’ increasingly seamless integration into the digital world will eventually require a constant exchange of data with the cloud. This will allow software to be continuously optimized and evolved to the full extent of the hardware’s capabilities. Automakers will therefore have to speed up development cycles so they can differentiate their brands by updating and upgrading vehicle functions and the like throughout the lifecycle, even after the SOP. This paradigm shift is primarily enabled by the separation of hardware and software, as well as by increasing connectivity.

Hardware and software abstraction is already commonplace on most IT platforms, but this practice is just beginning to gain traction in automotive engineering with advent of the software-defined vehicle. In the past, it had been possible to consider individual systems within the vehicle in isolation. Systems integration was already a challenge in and of itself. Engineers had to take dependencies into account and coordinate the individual systems. But emerging distributed software architectures are now pushing conventional E/E architectures and development methods to limits of their capabilities.

Hardware/software abstraction and continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) methods enable engineers to develop these new platform solutions. They can better integrate software functions and accelerate release and innovation cycles with these methods. This reduces system complexity, but it also raises the requirements bar and increases software complexity. The solution approach: the SdV technology platform.

Our solution approach: The SdV technology platform as enabler for tomorrow’s mobility

ITK Engineering believes that it will take a comprehensive SdV technology platform with three components to create a cross-domain, centralized architecture and reduce complexity in software development and system integration:

1. SdV.OS:
An operating system is required on the vehicle side to make it easier to integrate new vehicle functions (OS). This software base layer serves several purposes, one being to enable the abstraction of software functions and, by extension, central data acquisition and software update management in the vehicle.

2. SdV.OPS:
The in-vehicle base layer and the platform in the cloud (OPS) have to be coordinated. The two elements’ functions complement each other to create an over-the-air connection with the vehicle and thereby support efficient and transparent communication among components of the application software. This also enables cloud-based operation of vehicle software and new services.

3. SdV.DEV:
This technology platform will have to include a scalable and collaborative development environment (DEV). This environment unifies the two sides, the vehicle, and the cloud, to enable end-to-end development of innovative features based on new data-driven development methods and fast integration cycles. A scalable integration platform that accommodates and automatically tests vendors’ software is an essential component for increasingly distributed and collaborative software development.

Platform solutions for innovative software and system development.

The interaction of these elements creates the basis for software-defined vehicles. Cooperations and partnerships play a central role. With a scalable platform based on open standards and open source, forces can be bundled and as many end users as possible can be reached.

ITK Engineering – Your partner and enabler for the software-defined vehicle

We offer our customers tailored solutions and services independent of platforms and support the development of the SdV technology platform. Our services range from classic systems engineering to customer-specific software solutions, such as middleware and application software, to end-to-end software in the vehicle (onboard) and beyond (offboard).

In addition, we provide the design and implementation of digital services and cloud-based platform solutions in the offboard area (SdV.OPS). Within the framework of cloud, front-end and back-end developments, we rely on our cross-domain development experience and on common technology platforms, such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS.

As an integration partner, we create a collaborative co-integration environment as part of the third pillar of the technology platform (SdV.DEV) as a neutral and independent basis to achieve the necessary scalability, homogeneous build frameworks and a high degree of automation.

Jochen Breidt, ITK Engineering expert for software-defined vehicles.

As a partner and enabler for your SdV platform, we aim to recognize the current challenges and implement a customized solution together with you. We draw on our methodical know-how and many years of experience in the development of exclusive software solutions and accompany you on the way to your software-defined vehicle.

Jochen Breidt, Business Development Automotive


Icon head with two gears

Cross-domain expertise

Icon collaboration

Working in partnership

Icon gear with hook

State-of-the-art software development

Unsolved challenges? We look forward to your inquiry.

Portrait Jochen Breidt

Mobility – Software-Definied Vehicle

Jochen Breidt

You might be also interested in this