Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Transportation Software

Software-Defined Vehicles Will Dominate At CES (computerworld.com) 112

Lucas123 writes: Carmakers and their tier 1 parts suppliers at CES in January are expected to launch an unprecedented number of software advances centered around cloud services and over-the-air updates. The number of in-vehicle processors continues to grow, and consumers have come to expect their car to mimic smartphone functionality. As hardware becomes more of a commodity, increasingly cars will be defined by software. There will be about 464 automotive electronics exhibitors at this year's CES — a record number, according to IHS Automotive. Human-machine interface will be a core technology at the show — augmented reality and virtual reality, in the form of gesture recognition and heads up displays, are expected to be among the most cutting-edge features.

Cloud-based speech recognition technology that uses machine learning skills to identify speech patterns more quickly will also be more commonplace. One development the analysts said they're "crossing their fingers" to see at the show is Modular Infotainment Platforms, which allow carmakers to offer the latest electronic systems prior to a model launch. Today, car models are often launched with years-old electronics. Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto are also increasingly undermining the native infotainment system makers' business. Analysts believe all carmakers will eventually offer both APIs in future car models.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Software-Defined Vehicles Will Dominate At CES

Comments Filter:
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday December 21, 2015 @02:18PM (#51160053)

    Those of us that work with software pale at the thought of myriad car components being "software defined".

    I think I'll be hanging on to my mostly hardware defined car for quite a few years as this all plays out...

    Don't get me wrong, I'm no luddite - I want a self-driving car badly. But I also don't like suffering the death of a thousand cuts with small things going inexplicably wrong in a car all the time either.

    • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Monday December 21, 2015 @02:34PM (#51160189)

      Thank you for writing out what lots of us are thinking.

      I bought an android 'smartphone' 5 years ago. At the time, it was cutting-edge.

      Now it's constantly locking-up/rebooting and incredibly slow.

      I also can't install many of the newer apps on it because its firmware revision is too ancient(?!).

      I thought "maybe if I go to the telephone vendor and ask if they can upgrade the firmware"

      "Naw, we can't update it, buy a new phone"

      I can just imagine what dumb excuses the car-makers will have.

      • Another software guy who wants cars to be cars, reporting in.

        I read this:

        The number of in-vehicle processors continues to grow, and consumers have come to expect their car to mimic smartphone functionality.

        and my immediate reaction was that I'd bet a substantial amount of money that this is much more about marketing than about what consumers buying a car actually want.

        But then I dislike questionable developments like so-called smart TVs and the Internet of Things as well, so maybe I just want all these kids to get off my lawn...

        • That is a great point, I would far rather that a car be refined to have amazing mechanical systems where tolerances were such that over 100k miles not a creak would be heard from dash or other panels in the car. I would love the placement of dials and controls to be carefully thought out and more money spent on visibility and UX... instead we'll get 18 speakers and a few more ambient color-changing LED's. Sigh.

          • That is a great point, I would far rather that a car be refined to have amazing mechanical systems where tolerances were such that over 100k miles not a creak would be heard from dash or other panels in the car. I would love the placement of dials and controls to be carefully thought out and more money spent on visibility and UX... instead we'll get 18 speakers and a few more ambient color-changing LED's. Sigh.

            The heck with even 100K miles. My wife's car has electronic steering where a sensor determines how far to turn the wheels. Guess what failed while going down the highway at 70mph! Or on my car, instead of the vents being controlled by a cable to the dash controls, they dash controls tell a computer to engage a servo to use a vacuum to open and close the vents. That was a $600 repair that should not have been needed. Don't get me wrong, technology is great, but technology for the sake of technology, when a

            • Vacuum controlled vent controls are old school. My 2013 Ford C-Max uses stepping motors for air routing and mixing.
              • Yeah, the vehicle in question is a late 90s pickup. However, in the 20 years of its predecessor, never once was there a problem with the cable version. Even stepping motors is technology looking for a problem to solve.

          • If carmakers would use simple, modular, open standards for all the computer and ICE stuff, I would be perfectly OK with it. They don't. They reinvent everything, every time, and it's always an impressively shitty implementation of whatever it is they were trying to accomplish. They can't even put goddamned RCA jacks on their stereos, and they dare call that shit "premium". Factory nav is a joke, because they cut $2 off the cost by using some bottom-spec CPU, or the touch screen is erratic, or the menus

      • I also can't install many of the newer apps on it because its firmware revision is too ancient(?!).

        I thought "maybe if I go to the telephone vendor and ask if they can upgrade the firmware"

        "Naw, we can't update it, buy a new phone"

        I'm afraid that in the future, that will be a car makers answer, too. Ford likes to advertise that 80% of all Fords F-150s are still on the road, or whatever the number is. But, they also know that means that they aren't selling new trucks to those people. Vehicles have gotten to the point where if they are maintained, they can be reliable transportation for 20 years or more and hundreds of thousands of miles.

        In the future, it won't be you need a new car because the current one is worn out. It will be bec

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        What you describe isn't what the car manufacturers mean most of the time. For example, cruise control used to be a little motor winding in a rope that pulled on the accelerator. The accelerator itself was mechanically linked to the engine valves.

        In my EV the linkage is all electronic. Couldn't be any other way. Same with many hybrids. Same with many aircraft for that matter. Controls are software defined, rather than mechanically defined.

        Such things are not inherently less reliable, and won't become obsolet

    • They really haven't got power windows figured out properly in over 50 years...

      Perhaps car manufactures need to look at what their customers really want in a car. All the additional electronics are nifty but most people want a car that is reliable. I want a car that isn't cheap flimsy plastic junk built on marketing hype for a premium price.

      • What's wrong with power windows?

        • They come off track, the switches are cheap junk that stops working after a year or two. I have had one or both of these issues in every car I've owned with power windows Dodge, Ford, Buick, Cadillac... all the same. I've owned Chevy, Toyota, and Nissan in the 70s and 80s but they were old enough that they didn't have power windows but I imagine they would not be much better today. I also find cheap plastic door handles to be a failing point the manufactures don't appear to care about.

          • I've owned Hondas, Mazdas and a Nissan for over 20 years, and have had zero power window problems.

          • Maybe you should stop acting like a gorilla with your power window buttons. I've never had any of those problems. The only problem I've had with power windows were in an early-90s model Honda where they were really slow at times, and that was mostly because back then they still used the shitty scissor-type regulator mechanisms from hand-operated windows. Sometime in the 90s or so, everyone finally switched to the newer mechanisms where the motor sits on the window and raises it up and down a cable. They

            • You mean Made in America like Toyota, Chevy, Honda, Buick, and GMC?

              http://fortune.com/2015/06/29/... [fortune.com]

              I know Toyota has more American Made cars than Ford, when did that happen?

              • No, I don't mean American-made at all. If I meant American-made, I would have said so explicitly. I mean American companies. Honda, Toyota, etc. are not American companies, any more than Apple is a Chinese company. Fords are American, even though they're all made in Mexico, and GMs are American even though they're made in Canada. The design work and engineering is done in America, and the lousy design is why they suck no matter where they're made.

                By your logic, VW and Ford are Mexican companies, Apple

                • The quality and workmanship of automotive has been in decline for some years now foreign or domestic. You don't have to act like a gorilla to break a flimsy piece of plastic as vehicles are subject to weather and cold makes plastic brittle. I live in an area that has sub-freezing and sometimes sub-zero temperatures during the winter, unfortunately I can't always park in a heated garage. It's been during the worst winter weather that I have always had those problems and I know I'm not the only one. There are

                  • The quality and workmanship of automotive has been in decline for some years now foreign or domestic.

                    WTF? I'm sorry, this is just dumb. Auto quality has never been better, and it's easily proven: cars are lasting longer than ever and holding their value better than ever. It's routine for cars to reach 100k miles now and still fetch a very good price on the used market; 30 years ago a car that age was ready for the junkyard. Manufacturing tolerances are tighter than ever, defects are low, and things last

                    • It's routine for cars to reach 100k miles now and still fetch a very good price on the used market; 30 years ago a car that age was ready for the junkyard.

                      I have had two 82 cavaliers and an 82 buick custom that ended up going to the junkyard with over 200k miles. I liked that year in particular because it was the last of the throttle body and they could easily be modified to exceed what we today consider a good high mpg rating.

                      Auto quality has never been better, and it's easily proven: cars are lasting longer than ever and holding their value better than ever.

                      You can't say with any certainty that cars are lasting longer or retaining value better yet. One of my neighbors has an unmodified, original paint, still has the original engine, over 200k miles, 1967 mustang, granted the engine was reb

                    • I have had two 82 cavaliers and an 82 buick custom that ended up going to the junkyard with over 200k miles. I liked that year in particular because it was the last of the throttle body and they could easily be modified to exceed what we today consider a good high mpg rating.

                      You could "easily modify" some piece-of-junk 1982 car to get better than 40mpg or so? I'm sorry, I think you're full of shit. I got stuck with an 86 Cavalier in my youth and that thing could barely go uphill under its own power, and w

                    • You could "easily modify" some piece-of-junk 1982 car to get better than 40mpg or so? I'm sorry, I think you're full of shit.

                      I think you don't know your history. Why don't you look up the mpg on some 82 vehicles that was right before chloral floral carbon scares and the stricter emission controls laws and right after the 1973 oil and 1979 energy crisis a lot of those vehicle broke 40 mpg from the factory and they had only the most basic emission control systems which when removed would increase economy by 3-5mpg.

                    • I can't seem to find any official numbers for those years; the EPA's website only goes back to 1984, and the '84 Cavalier has some pretty lousy numbers compared to what you allege. I found some other site alleging some 40+ numbers for a bunch of cars, but then a bunch of comments after claiming those numbers were bogus. It seems strange that the Cavalier would suddenly drop 10+mpg in 2 years; I'm pretty sure the basic design was the same between 82 and 84. It did about 30mpg on the highway though, and lo

          • I've never had any problem with my power windows. At least they don't BSOD like some other windows have.

    • Those of us that work with software pale at the thought of myriad car components being "software defined".

      I think I'll be hanging on to my mostly hardware defined car for quite a few years as this all plays out...

      Unless your car is pretty old, it's already heavily driven by software. Electronic Fuel Injection? The venerable timing chain/belt has been replaced by software, and it's software that is pretty smart about when to inject fuel and fire the spark plugs, constantly varying the timing by small amounts as engine demands change, and based on real-time reports from various sensors. Anti-lock brakes? Software. There's probably software embedded in your transmission. I drive an electric car, and there's very little

      • Software is inherently more reliable than hardware, since it doesn't wear out.

        Yes, I know all about how much tech is already in modern cars - I wouldn't get rid of all of it, but there are already interactions I dislike with what is there. Sometimes glitchy acceleration because of fuel injection. Automatic shifters that shift at bad times. I'm just saying that after some initial large wins by adding software, adding lots more on top seems to cross into the realm of dubious value.

        Software is in fact inhere

        • Software is in fact inherently LESS reliable than hardware, because hardware generally fails gradually, in ways that can be predicted and checked ahead of time for (like checking for cracks on a belt). Software though, either works or generally fails spectacularly - because of two factors - one is that storage wears out or gets corrupted sometimes, the other is that sensors fail and with bad input comes our friend GIGO.

          Having binary failure modes (either works or fails spectacularly) makes it more reliable, because (assuming comparable complexity), hardware has more wear modes. The only reason you think those can be predicted and checked ahead of time is because you happen to know the common ones. If worn out or corrupted storage is sufficiently common then it is even easier to check for... in fact the software can (and often does) do it automatically in a power-on self-test.

          The only case where that breaks down is when

          • Having binary failure modes (either works or fails spectacularly) makes it more reliable, because (assuming comparable complexity), hardware has more wear modes.

            I can't read the rest because this is too wrong.

            Those "more we are modes" mean you can drive somewhere because something is partially working, instead of being stranded because software has decided you cannot.

            You aren't considering what failure means, what benefits partial failure yields in relation to sometimes life and death situations.

    • Get a Tesla. Automatic software updates every few weeks add features. Autopilot, improved UI, better performance, etc.
      Best car ever... Zero emissions.

    • Those of us that work with software pale at the thought of myriad car components being "software defined".

      The term "software-defined" used alongside "car" is gibberish anyway. Unless you can load software/bitstreams into an FPGA or CPLD that turn it into a car, it's not a "software-defined car". What they're talking about is the incremental addition of driver-assist features to cars that's been going on for decades, it's just accelerated a bit recently due to Google making it more marketable.

    • Cars are already riddled with software, I don't know that this means much of a change. Easier to update, but electronics have a way of costing more to repair than analog components. Hell, I've had to had the friggin' *motherboard* replaced in my fridge. The cloud part is what scares me. Features that only work with connectivity? So we have to pay for cell service for cars, and hope we never drive anywhere without a usable signal?
  • Right turn NOW = drive on to railroad tracks.

    We need better testing and at least 5-8 years of updates for any new cars software.

  • Just buy a damn smartphone and a holder for it. Give us Bluetooth connectivity for music and hands free. Oh and fuck Onstar. That's all you need. That way we can replace the phone every two years which is a hell of a lot easier than spending an extra $5K for a built-in system that is not easily up-gradable and leaves us vulnerable. [senate.gov]

    • I would agree but I would also like integration between smartphones and an in-car LCD - even just AirPlay and the Android equivalent would be enough for most uses.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      You seem to not understand that the automotive industry is all about lock in with really crappy electronics.

      You will never EVER get what you ask for from any car maker on this planet.

      • Actually I do. I have done work for the automotive electronics industry. That's why I advocate "less is more" because of lock-in and it's not just about infotainment it's about all the other things that the manufacturers want to lock you out of. Headlights, Tire Pressure Monitor Sensors (TPMS), Stereo equipment and anything else that they can think of that a) forces you to buy from them for as long as you own it and b) forces you to get it serviced at their licensed dealers only. It's that way with head

        • Oh bullshit. You can replace headlights on any car; that's completely stupid. They might not make it completely easy with HIDs, you might have to disassemble some plastic paneling or something, but it's not like you *have* to have dealer equipment to do it. HIDs all use standard D2S and D4S bulbs.

          And why the hell would you need "service" at a licensed dealer for your stereo? If you have regular problems with your stereo needing servicing, you're doing something wrong. TPMS? Why would that need service

          • To my original point... http://www.autoblog.com/2015/0... [autoblog.com]

            Luddites you say? "less is more" is actually quite rational and is a sister to KISS [wikipedia.org] Sure technology changes, cars get updated but nobody is advocating going back to points, manual chokes et al. If it doesn't need to be there, why put it in? Why does a car need "dozens of computers?" Maybe it's to be able to massage your ass? That's a human machine interface problem, not my field.

            Oh bullshit. You can replace headlights on any car; that's completely stupid. They might not make it completely easy with HIDs, you might have to disassemble some plastic paneling or something, but it's not like you *have* to have dealer equipment to do it. HIDs all use standard D2S and D4S bulbs.

            Really? Change the bulb maybe but not the housing. Not if you're

            • "less is more" is actually quite rational and is a sister to KISS

              No, actually it's not. If you want features, you're going to have complexity; there's no way around it. If you want a Spartan car, great, good luck getting the automakers to make one for you. There are some really cheap econoboxes out there, so you can buy one of those, but even those are going to have some creature comforts because it's only a few freaks who really want a stripped-down vehicle, not enough to bother with because the cost o

              • No, actually it's not. If you want features, you're going to have complexity; there's no way around it. If you want a Spartan car, great, good luck getting the automakers to make one for you. There are some really cheap econoboxes out there, so you can buy one of those, but even those are going to have some creature comforts because it's only a few freaks who really want a stripped-down vehicle, not enough to bother with because the cost of producing cars is so high. Every time automakers do try to make a super stripped-down model for all these complainers, they end up sitting on dealer lots, unable to be sold.

                There's lots of basic cars out there that aren't overly complex. Sure, you have to have an ECU but after it's optional. You can have electrically heated this and that but it doesn't take a program to deal with it. It's been done for years.

                Are you one of those people that still uses a flip phone or even a landline?

                If it doesn't need to be there, why put it in?

                Because people want nice things. Duh. Not everyone is some minimalist freak who doesn't like anything nice.

                Tell me, where can I buy a "flip phone?" They sound amazing. Also define "nice." are you saying that "nice" requires over complexity? Shit if that's the case DeBeers, Rolex and Patek are pushing the wrong product.

                Really? Change the bulb maybe but not the housing. Not if you're a BMW owner [bimmerfest.com] at least.

                You're going to have to elaborate. I read through a bit and didn't see any problems. Here's one guy's post:

                "I finally got around to replacing it with a new one and I didn't need to touch any programming whatsoever."

                If you're able to swap a headlight housing without messing with any special programming tools, then what exactly is the problem???

                Read the rest of the thread. Did you read about the

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        You seem to not understand that the automotive industry is all about lock in with really crappy electronics. You will never EVER get what you ask for from any car maker on this planet.

        To be fair, no business likes to just hand over a market that operates on/in/with their product. Like SmartTVs, sure TV could say "we'll just deliver the screen you use your cable box, HTPC, Apple TV, Chromecast or whatever" but of course they won't. Let's face it, just about any car on the road will get you from A to B in pretty much exactly the same time, given speed limits and traffic. A Ferrari can make you look cool and shave a few seconds off your acceleration but the only place it's significantly fas

  • Is that really a proper use of "Software Defined?" The term brings to mind "Software Defined Radio" (SDR) which involves using flexible software to dramatically change the behavior of commodity trans/receivers. I really don't see how the software will "Define" a vehicle in the same way. It's firmware.
  • where the only processor is behind the steering wheel.

    • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      I'm with you bro, and already doing it.
      I refuse to buy any new GM product just because you can't even get any Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, or GMC vehicle without Onstar now.

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday December 21, 2015 @02:44PM (#51160253)
    Do they still think a touch screen interface is the best way to control car software? Because forcing drivers to look away from the road to pick the next song to play is BRILLIANT!
    • Unlike the radio where you have to look away to change stations? And have for 50+ years.

      • Most of the time, I switch between two stations. All I have to do is feel for the buttons and press "1" or "2". Without taking my eyes off the road.

        • How many times did you look down until you learned that? and what if you want to put in a cd or hook up your phone to the usb port?

          It's really not much different.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2015 @03:00PM (#51160353)

    your car will only accept vendor approved gasoline.
    The car cockpit display will only work for the first 1000miles after that you have to pay 99cents per day.
    The car will continuously send its location and all other possible personal information, back to the manufacturer, the reseller, the supplier of the aftermarket seat covers and floor mats, and the manufacturer of every smartphone that has even been paired with it.
    While driving on the motorway, a full windshield covering popup will remind you that you still have to upgrade to os 9.2. you can only delay it, not reject it.
    The car will be sold with an artificial mileage limit per month. If you exceed the limit you pay surcharges per mile. Or, if you have the unlimited plan, the cars maximum speed will be 15mph for the remainder of the month.
    If you take your car to another country, the gasoline quadruples in price, the miles per month your car can drive reduces by 90% and there is a 50% chance that the roads in the other country are not compatible with your car.

    sure, customers want cars to mimic smartphone functionality.

    • by jewens ( 993139 )

      If you take your car to another country, the gasoline quadruples in price, the miles per month your car can drive reduces by 90% and there is a 50% chance that the roads in the other country are not compatible with your car.

      Yes, we have that already, it is called the United Kingdom.

  • I am not interested in having insecure, locked-in, proprietary software getting attached to my car.
  • Is it just me or is the summary almost 50% buzzwords? All you're missing is "synergy" and "end to tend" and you have your average engadget post.
    • Agreed. Let's try this, but without the buzzwords:

      Carmakers and their tier 1 parts suppliers at CES in January are expected to launch an...centered around...over-the-air updates. The number of in-vehicle processors continues to grow, and consumers have come to expect their car to mimic smartphone functionality. As hardware becomes more of a...increasingly cars will be... There will be about 464 automotive electronics exhibitors at this year's CES — a record number, according to IHS Automotive...will be a...at the show — ...and..., in the form of....and heads up displays, are expected to be among the most... ...speech recognition technology that uses ... to identify speech patterns more quickly will also be more commonplace. One development the analysts said they're "crossing their fingers" to see at the show is..., which allow carmakers to offer the latest electronic systems prior to a model launch. Today, car models are often launched with years-old electronics. ... and ... are also ... the native infotainment system makers' business. Analysts believe all carmakers will eventually offer both ... in future car models.

  • And it'll all be out of date in two to three years, but so embedded that replacement means your door chime stops working and you end up with a permanently-lit dashboard warning light.
  • ..and cars that are transportation. Is that so gods-be-damned difficult?

    Stop making your car a lifestyle. You're not 'accessorizing' your life with a car. Your car does not define you. Things like this that you think you 'own'? They end up owning you. How about a car that's just a car, transportation? Anything more than a radio that works decently and air conditioning is just more junk to distract you, to break down, and to cost you more money you probably don't have to start with. If we got rid of all thi
  • > "consumers have come to expect their car to mimic smartphone functionality."

    I have never heard *anyone* say this, ever. Integration with smartphones: yes. *Replacing* a smartphone: nope, not at all, ever, no thanks. Am I just behind the times, or is this more like how consumers have supposedly come to expect 3D and/or ultra-4k tvs that nobody actually needs or wants?

  • We will finally download a car!

    other than that, yeah, I suspect that allowing something this important to turn into a rentseeking business is a terrible idea.

  • Is it really just me that wishes car manufacturers would make even just one new model without all this unnecessary crap in it?

  • I sure as hell don't, all I want is a big tach right in the middle, a speedo, gas, temp and boost gauges off on the side. I just want manual heat/ac controls and nothing else. Basically all I want is a lightweight car with no crap on it, manual gearbox, rear wheel drive, multi link suspension, low center of mass, lots of power, good sounding exhaust, and good looks.

    I've got no use for tarting a car up just for the sake of tarting it up. I drive a Honda S2000, and I think I might have literally turned th
  • Free Software and APPS download for any kinds of device, automatically best free driver updater available for your device when your driver is outdated. Allows antivirus download, free download games, free music app download . http://safensecuredaters.com/c... [safensecuredaters.com]

Air pollution is really making us pay through the nose.

Working...