What Is a Software-Defined Vehicle?
A Software-Defined Vehicle is any vehicle that manages its operations, adds functionality, and enables new features primarily or entirely through software.
Software-Defined Vehicles are the next evolution of the automotive industry. They are the foundation of many other advancements, including self-driving and connected cars. Deloitte notes that they ultimately reflect “the gradual transformation of automobiles from highly electromechanical terminals to intelligent, expandable mobile electronic that can be continuously upgraded.”
Benefits of Software-Defined Vehicles
The benefits of Software-Defined Vehicles include:
- Improved safety via features such as anti-collision systems and driver assistance
- Increased comfort through onboard infotainment systems
- Deeper insights into vehicle performance through telematics and diagnostics, allowing for more effective preventative maintenance
- The capacity for automotive manufacturers to add new features and functionality with over-the-air updates
Software-Defined Vehicles outperform their hardware-defined predecessors across multiple arenas. In addition to being safer, they provide superior comfort and convenience. Since many Software-Defined Vehicles are also electric, they also have considerably smaller environmental footprints.
Optimization is another major draw. Manufacturers can continue improving the driver experience and enhance vehicle performance after a car leaves the factory, perpetually improving the driving experience through continuous development. This represents the most significant paradigm shift the automotive industry has ever experienced, as hardware-defined cars tend to remain generally unchanged throughout their lifecycles.
More Benefits of Software-Defined Vehicles
- Increased value of the vehicle over time
- Connectivity between vehicle and smartphone, allowing drivers and passengers to interact with their cars in new ways
- Continuous connectivity
Software-Defined Vehicle Architecture
1. User Applications
3. Embedded OS
Software-Defined Vehicles vs. Connected Vehicles
There is very little difference between Software-Defined Vehicles and connected vehicles.
Both are characterized by extensive safety, convenience, and entertainment features provided and enabled through onboard software. Both integrate multiple software services and platforms through either middleware or APIs. And both incorporate various advanced hardware such as collision detection and ADAS.
The only tangible difference is that, in theory, connected cars have a slightly different use case, explicitly built to interact and interface with their surroundings. Given that many Software-Defined Vehicles now share this functionality, the two are essentially indistinguishable from one another.
A smart city is one that’s capable of harnessing the power of today’s most innovative technologies. These cities are defined as urban areas that utilize information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve government services and make them more efficient. Smart cities can also improve the flow and function of how drivers navigate through the urban environment.
As the smart city moves from concept to reality, the SDV will become even more important as a dynamic node in this system. In the smart city, data and information technology are leveraged to improve operational efficiency, share services with public citizens, and provide a better quality of government. This includes helping traffic flow more smoothly, imposing environmental regulations, managing parking more effectively, and reducing energy usage where possible.
What is a Software-Defined Vehicle?
A Software-Defined Vehicle manages operations and enables new features and functionality almost entirely through onboard software.
What software is used in the automotive industry?
BlackBerry QNX is the market leader in automotive software, embedded in more than 215 million vehicles worldwide. The platform’s leadership is expected to persist through 2026. Other significant players in the space include Android, Linux, and Windows Embedded Automotive.
What’s the difference between a Software-Defined Vehicle and a Connected Vehicle?
In theory, connected cars are built specifically to interact with IoT devices in their surroundings. However, in practice, there is very little difference between the two, and they are used mainly to reference the same concepts.
Is Tesla a Software-Defined Vehicle?
Tesla first popularized the concept of Software-Defined Vehicles in 2012. They remain one of the best-known brands in the space to this day.
What’s the connection between Software-Defined Vehicles and self-driving vehicles?
Software-Defined Vehicles essentially lay the foundation for self-driving cars. Many safety features in Software-Defined Vehicles, such as sensors and LiDAR, are also crucial for autonomous driving.
As the developer of BlackBerry® QNX, we are one of the leading organizations in the Software-Defined Vehicle space. For more than forty years, we’ve worked tirelessly to build safe, reliable, and secure embedded systems. And we’re not stopping there—in addition to investing heavily into autonomous vehicle research, we’re also working to enable the connected car.
That’s where BlackBerry IVY™ comes in. Leveraging QNX, edge computing, and the cloud, BlackBerry IVY empowers developers and automakers with a secure, reliable way to share vehicle data, deliver new features and functionality, and fuel innovation. IVY is compatible with most platforms and shares close ties with BlackBerry’s broad development community.
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