Digital In-Car User Experience Hits the Road

29.03.2021 by Daniel Kunz
Interior of an all-electric hypercar from Pininfarina

Car buyers’ requirements have changed. Today’s mobility must be sustainable and connected. That makes in-car software more and more important.

With 1,900 horse power under the hood and a top speed of 350 km/h the luxury hypercar Battista EV made by the innovative, high-quality car manufacturer Automobili Pininfarina is the most powerful car ever made in Italy. Accelerating to 100 km/h from a standing start in less than two seconds, it has double the power of a Formula 1 racecar, and the 500-kilometer range of this all-electric hypercar (see info box) is pretty impressive too.

Supercar vs. Hypercar

Fast and expensive is no longer enough. So-called supercars may have powerful engines and be innovative or unusual in design, but hypercars are all of these taken to the extreme. A hypercar must set new standards for performance, technology and design against which all subsequent automotive engineers’ designs must be measured. That is why most hypercars are so complex and expensive that they are only manufactured in limited runs.


 

As an EV the hypercar Battista is a pioneer in regards to current trends. Automakers today must fulfill other customer requirements than in the past. More and more people want to be sustainably mobile, for example, and switch from combustion engines to electric vehicles. The Battista, of which only 150 are being made, is helping to generate more attention for e-mobility, much like the Formula E racing series or the Tesla hype does.

Surfing at 350 KM/H

Along with sustainability, what car buyers most want is to be connected. According to a survey by NTT IT specialists and Teknowlogy market researchers nearly one out of two respondents (47 percent) would be prepared to switch their automobile brand for innovative connected car services. Users would also like the seamless user experience they get from their smartphone. Cellular network connectivity is indispensable for connected services of this kind. Here too, the Battista as a connected car is state-of-the-art. The Italian sports car has a built-in Telekom eSIM via which it can roam in over 50 countries around the world with Internet access. This reliable connectivity enables Battista drivers to make use of infotainment offerings such as real-time route planning, including details of available nearby battery charging points.

Green Zone

On German roads the Battista not only runs emission-free; it also surfs in Telekom’s “Green Network.” Since January 1, 2020 renewables have delivered 100 percent of our power requirements in Germany.

Manufacturers aim to provide in-car digital services such as streaming and gaming without recourse to smartphone apps. In the future the automobile is to become a digital companion. Applications are to be available immediately, in-car and on demand, including content and connectivity wherever possible. The car will navigate the driver to the nearest free parking space, recommend nearby garage and restaurant bookings and even play your favorite playlist.

Streaming at No Extra Cost

Increased customer demand for connected driving and a wide range of in-car entertainment means for manufacturers that they must also manage private in-car data usage. A central management platform provides them with an overview of all eSIMs in their vehicle fleet and full cost control. The more data-intensive the usage, such as 4K video streaming or gaming, the faster the data volume limit is reached. If the network provider provides for a traffic split, costs can be shared. Traffic from streams like Netflix or Spotify could then be charged to third-party providers in return for making their services available in-car. There is no change for users. They simply add their car’s entertainment system like any other device to their accounts and thereby benefit from an end-to-end user experience.

In-Car Software Increasingly Important

If not only infotainment functions but also vehicle systems such as brakes or batteries are updated over the air, workshop visits can be reduced in number. Automobili Pininfarina manages the connections for connected vehicles in all countries via a central Telekom IoT platform. Via the Battista’s Internet access it can upload and evaluate extensive vehicle and telemetric data in real time, diagnose faults remotely and install updates in the car. For all these connected services Telekom provides the connectivity required as an automobile industry partner.

Software was already in in-car use everywhere ten years ago: in engine control, various safety systems, infotainment, navigation, mobile telephony solutions. And it is growing increasingly important for, say, driver assistance systems or comfort functions. According to Roland Berger management consultants the share of embedded software in the development costs of an automobile today is already around 40 percent and on the increase. Until 2030 the market for in-car software is expected to grown by nine percent per year.

Precise Positioning by GPS and 5G

If the vehicle receives its positioning data by GPS, accuracy is limited to between 3 and 15 meters. That is not enough to ensure safe navigation for autonomous driving, for example. With Precise Positioning the vehicle thus receives GPS correction data via a private 5G link, thereby ensuring 10-centimeter accuracy. This procedure is designed for fast cars. The service provided by Telekom and Swift Navigation is scalable, designed for an unlimited number of vehicles and already available nationwide in Germany and the U.S. Precise Positioning will be rolled out in other European countries in the course of 2021.

For the automobile industry the trend from hardware to software involves a complex transformation. Compared with hardware, automotive software runs in much shorter development cycles, must fulfill exacting safety and security requirements and requires continuous further development. Software updates must be downloaded and installed from the Internet and not require a workshop visit. And several dozen control devices with different chipsets und proprietary technology must be managed.

Make or Buy?

Automakers must decide whether to develop in-car software in-house or to buy it in. To deliver connectivity they collaborate with partners like Telekom who operate the networks and guarantee the knowhow required for secure, reliable and powerful communication. Automakers face competition from new market players such as Google and Tesla. The infotainment system of the Volvo Polestar 2, for example, is based on Google’s Android operating system. The Renault-Nissan alliance and General Motors are also planning to use Google’s Android Automotive OS in many models. Other carmakers such as Daimler and VW are relying – like Tesla – on a software stack developed in-house. All their efforts aim to enhance the user experience with a focus on the customers and their driving experience.

Would you like to know how you as a manufacturer or supplier can kick-start your way into the digital future with Deutsche Telekom’s IoT solutions? Download our free e-book now to learn more about digital trends in the automobile industry. Our best practice examples will show you how the Internet of Things can support your digital transformation.


 

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Daniel Kunz
Daniel Kunz

Expert Digital Marketing

Digitization and the Internet of Things are among the favourite topics of Daniel Kunz. He has been with Deutsche Telekom since 2017 and regularly writes about technology trends and many exciting topics, especially for the retail trade and the logistics industry.