Software-controlled technology and its influence on future cars


It’s time to welcome the era of Software Defined Vehicles (SDV).

BHPian electromotor recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Software is the big bad boy. It murders middlemen, disrupts supply chains, kills boomer brands, and redefines the way you watch TV, shop, work, and socialize.

In 2011, Marc Andreessen wrote Why Software Eats the World. Now the software will eat your car. It’s time to welcome the era of Software Defined Vehicles (SDV).

What are SDVs:


Whereas in the past the customer experience of a car was primarily defined by hardware, software now plays a much bigger role. This software trend is massively shaping the customer experience, and in some cases even the hardware specification is referred to as a software-defined vehicle (SDV). This evolution not only affects development and operation, but also makes possible new business models and types of collaboration.


“Software-defined vehicles” apparently refers to the state that the quantity and value of software (including electronic hardware) in a vehicle exceeds that of mechanical hardware; moreover, it reflects the gradual transformation of automobiles from highly electromechanical terminals to intelligent, continuously expandable and upgradable mobile electronic terminals.


The SDV concept is a vehicle whose features and functions are mainly activated through software. It reflects the gradual transformation of automobiles from highly electromechanical terminals to intelligent, expandable, mobile and continuously evolving electronic terminals. This technology represents a departure from traditional development for automakers, but is necessary to stay competitive as software becomes a more important part of automobiles.

That’s a lot to say: in the future, especially with BEVs, hardware will be more or less standardized and most vehicle functionality and features will be under software control. The only way for OEMs to differentiate themselves and lock in users will be through design and software/software features and services. The next generation of cars will have significant on-board computing power, sensors, an always-on data link, connected car features, and possibly AI-enabled services.

With all that hardware and software already present, the reliable self-driving capability will also come as an add-on or pay-as-you-go service. I think we are going to converge towards autonomous vehicle fleets. Self-driving technology can work very well with networked cars traveling in dedicated lanes. It looks like private BEVs are going to be transitional and soon companies and governments will be pushing for autonomous fleets and related infrastructure. It’s a win-win for all parties involved except the driving enthusiasts. Predictable and stable revenues for OEMs and their fleet services, as well as commuters – benefits of a private vehicle without having to own one and a wider reach than current transport networks.

My questions to the community are:

  1. Do you want to own an intelligent SDV?
  2. How radically will this change your relationship with your future vehicle? Note that with SDVs, the balance of power shifts to OEMs.
  3. Would you rather own a connected car that can be part of a self-driving taxi fleet and earn you money or would you rather keep your car private?
  4. What technology features would you like to see in your software-defined car?

Here is what BHPian RedMaw should say about it:

What worries me is the inevitability of this SDV evolution. Even when the majority of consumers oppose or threaten it, we will be drawn into it and it will inevitably lead to repair problems. Car manufacturers will have many reasons to lock down software and make repair or modification impossible. It will be the death of independent garages. Tesla cars are already on this path and unfortunately many manufacturers want to follow in Tesla’s footsteps.

Here is what BHPian Valar Morghulis should say about it:

Software intrusions will only improve OEMs’ earning potential and bottom line, once the new-fangled bling wears off.

  1. The entire car will soon be gamified with in-car purchases (like in-app purchases from “free” games). Drive less than 2,000 km per month and earn 60% on car music app subscription.
  2. “Want mood lighting in a different color? Pay the low price of Rs 500 and get 7 surround lights for a year”!! “Pay only Rs.1000 for high definition audio from your music system”. “Want a 360 degree camera? Pay Rs. 1000 for a year”.
  3. Car service only at authorized service centers (forget about FNGs), just like you can rarely get an iPhone repaired at a third-party center.
  4. John Deere-like services and payments


Here is what BHPian heydj should say about it:

I don’t want a smart car or a software car. All I want is a mechanically sound car with good engine sound and fun to drive.

The software can remain on the iPad. On the open road, I want to experience the thrill of driving rather than fiddling with touchscreens or software buttons etc.

Sadly we are moving away from the V4, V6 era and into software driven cars where anyone can disassemble my car from the backend. If the state wants to contact me, all they have to do is turn off the app and my ride will stop in the middle of the road.

Recently people’s teslas refused to start due to a global server outage. Imagine I have to go somewhere and my car decides to lock me up and drive off on its own like in the movie Transformers. No thanks, I’d rather walk/horse than be trapped in such a horrible situation.

Here is what BHPian sasid should say about it:

Can I just say that I am happy to be almost 50 years old and to be able to leave all these choices to my sons, to the younger generation in general and to my young-at-heart colleagues.

I will just say – get your SDV off my lawn!

Check out BHPian’s comments for more ideas and information.


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