A new unit called Car.Software will develop software for all Group vehicles and services.
Cars of the future will not only be electric but also fully connected, hence the need for a new generation of digital experts. With this in mind, Volkswagen Group has formed its new Car.Software unit, a division that will be responsible for developing software for the vehicles in all Group brands with the aim of significantly boosting the in-house share of car software development from the current 10% to at least 60% by 2025.
One single platform connected to the cloud
Cars are increasingly becoming digital devices on wheels and for this reason digitalisation plays a predominant role. The Car.Software unit will be responsible for designing and developing outstanding software solutions to guarantee efficient operation of vehicles, which will be fully connected and constantly online.
Within few years, there will be one uniform digital platform with all the basic functions for all vehicles throughout the Group. These will be equipped with the operating system "vw.os" and will use the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud for updates. The first vehicle based on this software platform will be the ID.3.
From hardware to software, towards a connected digital ecosystem
Ultimately, this choice can be seen as a transfer of competence from hardware to software development. Volkswagen Group produces superb cars and sells them all over the world but is not yet one of the big players when it comes to software. At present, 70 control units with operating software from 200 different suppliers are used across the Volkswagen brand’s entire range.
In addition, there are different systems with similar functions within the Group, for example for infotainment and navigation. One uniform operating system the use of the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud will considerably simplify the situation as well as the digital ecosystem used to provide the services.
Economies of scale
Some functions could be shared by all Group vehicles. One example is the search function for the nearest electric charging stationsthat is included in Volkswagen’s We Charge service but could be standardised for all brands.
An approach of this kind with a standard software platform would bring significant economies of scale and reduce the cost of integrating the software in each individual vehicle. This is particularly important considering that in the near future the Group will produce more than ten million fully connected vehicles per year. At the same time, a digital ecosystem with a growing number of vehicles connected will become increasingly attractive for new customers and commercial partners.
An innovative approach
The more than 5,000 digital experts involved in this project will work in competence areas such as software development, electrical and electronics development, connectivity, automated driving, user experience, cloud architecture and e-commerce.
The Car.Software unit will focus on five key areas and will develop for all Group brands, with flexible working models, the latest collaboration technologies and agile types of cooperation. About 500 experts are currently working together in this new unit, but the figure is already due to rise to about 2,000 by 2020.
“To date we have brought together experts from brands and companies within the Group,” explains Christian Senger, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for Digital Car and Services. “The next step will be to attract top professionals from IT and tech industry. Strategic investments and acquisitions are also an option. Our ultimate goal is to be clearly recognizable as a technological leader. An example: Audi’s “Quattro” label has become a worldwide benchmark in terms of all-wheel drive. Likewise, in a few years’ time we want people to see our software logo as a seal of quality!”.