By the time you’ve read the first line of this blog post, at least two car crashes will have taken place in the US alone.

With human error accounting for nine in every ten accidents, drivers and manufacturers alike are looking to technology for solutions to help protect those on the roads.

Tier1 automotive suppliers have a unique opportunity here to implement revolutionary software-based safety systems that support a safer driving experience and encourage widespread adoption of tech-powered cars.

Welcome to the age of the software-defined vehicle (SDV)

1. preventative maintenance

Vehicle defects are linked to 1,700 road casualties per year. Of course, this can be down to poor upkeep, but most of the time it’s because drivers don’t realize that their cars are faulty until it’s too late.

In the US, many states have no requirement for ongoing vehicle inspections, and car owners simply don’t know what to look out for. Without advance warning, or expert input, defects are often only discovered when things go wrong.

To minimize the risk of underlying issues going unnoticed, SDVs run on a centralized, software-based system that can provide instant data-driven diagnostic reports to the manufacturer, alerting them to possible problems with each individual vehicle. The system can then notify the driver in real time when their car requires attention, allowing them to act before they get into danger.

These systems can also be updated and maintained remotely – continually enhancing performance, functionality and safety via a steady stream of upgrades and new applications.


2. advanced safety features

One in 25 people admit to falling asleep behind the wheel in the average family car. More frighteningly, drowsy driving could be involved in more than 40 percent of truck crashes. 

However, according to Safety Science, 83 percent of rear-end vehicle-to-vehicle crashes can be prevented by collision warnings or automatic emergency breaking (AEB), avoiding crashes caused by lapses in concentration.

Blind spot monitoring and lane departure warnings are also on hand to help, using technology to automate parts of the driving process and reducing the risk of human error. This, in turn, lessens the chance of injuries, vehicle damage and road congestion, keeping vehicles on the road and avoiding lengthy commuting times. And of course, the less time vehicles spend in standstill traffic, the more fuel-efficient they are.

AEB and other safety features run on advanced software applications that can be upgraded in real time, delivering new features and bug fixes without the need to visit a garage. Without even having to get in the car, drivers will always have automatic access to the latest version of each application that gets rolled out – giving manufacturers the scope to keep their entire fleet of vehicles at the forefront of technological advancements, without having to rely on individual action from customers.


3. improved security

When we think of cybersecurity, it conjures an image of hackers trying to worm their way into data-rich devices like laptops or cell phones. But, in the age of the SDV, cars are just as much of a target – and even more dangerous when compromised.

With so much at stake, it’s vital that the same safeguards are put in place to protect those on the roads as those in the office. SDVs are equipped with robust security features that adhere to the latest standards, such as ISO 21434 and UNECE WP.29 R155. By implementing measures that are universally recognised and understood, vehicular cybersecurity standards can be maintained to industry standards, making it far easier to communicate and mitigate risks.

By using Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) updates, car components in thousands of vehicles can be continuously monitored to protect against mass dissemination of spyware or malware. Similarly, strong levels of encryption help avoid infiltration of in-car communication systems, shutting down fake updates and protecting the car against harmful intrusion from would-be hackers.

And, with the ability to authenticate third-party devices before connecting with them, SDVs are equipped to differentiate between benign software updates and malicious interference from a cybercriminal. This allows them to reap the benefits of remote-enabled software upgrades, without falling foul of dangerous malware programs or false information that causes the car to behave in an unsafe or abnormal manner.


a better experience, for a longer time

As a new generation learns to get behind the wheel, we’re already seeing worrying signs of bad habits, driver distraction and dangerous driving. The time is now to educate younger drivers as well as provide them with all the means possible to be safer behind the wheel. 

SDVs offer unparalleled benefits that cater to the tech-driven society of today, leveraging the powers of automation to offer a smart, connected system that continually monitors car performance and driver behaviors.

With this steady stream of insights, manufacturers can devise and implement ongoing updates that keep SDVs at the forefront of safe transport, providing consumers with constant, concrete evidence that software-powered cars are the future of safer driving – and safer roads – for everyone.

how can SDVs put automotive suppliers back in the driving seat?

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