Volkswagen has started development work on its new software platform for future products. This digital software will serve 60 per cent of the share of the software on VW Group’s car brands by 2025, up from today’s 10 per cent. To aid in this work, VW is planning to expand its software development to the company’s unit in India, and Indian software developers would have a hand in Volkswagen’s new OS.
Volkswagen has said that about 50 per cent of the work would come from specialists in Europe, the majority in Germany. About 33 per cent of the experts will program from China and the rest would come from units in North America, Israel and India. Volkswagen had opened a new research and development facility in Pune last year as part of their ‘India 2.0’ plan. This new R&D centre employs around 250 engineers, aimed at achieving 95% localisation of components on vehicles developed for the Indian market. The Indian engineers are tasked with project management, infotainment, body interior design, electronics, chassis and complete vehicle.
Volkswagen believes that to stay competitive in the market, it needs to retain control of the entire vehicle architecture which primarily includes the electronics. Giving access to third party companies with its vehicular data for its software development will restrict Volkswagen’s full control of this operation.
The new software is dubbed as VW.OS and will serve as a unified software architecture for all the brands under the group. This software could also provide support in integrating vehicle functions like a standardized infotainment platform, chassis and charging technology, all assistance systems like automated driving functions for uses in motorway or parking, software functions for the drivetrain and ecosystems for different mobility services. In the future, the software may feature SOTA (software over the air updates) allowing them to be constantly improved. All these functions will be backed up in a unified cloud storage facility called Volkswagen Automotive Cloud.
The Car.Software organization has charted out a budget of 7 billion Euro and over 5,000 experts for its projects aimed to be completed by 2025. Having a common software system developed by Volkswagen will help in substantially reducing per-vehicle software costs across all brands under the VW umbrella. VW will develop a software platform with basic functions for all of its brands. These brands can then individualize them to characterize their brand identity allowing them to shift their focus on hardware-related development.
Christian Senger, CEO of the Car.Software organization believes Volkswagen have everything in their arsenal to reach the goal. One of the biggest advantages it holds is the might of the number of vehicles VW sells, with 11 million vehicles sold in the year 2019 alone. These vehicles collect and provide sufficient data for them to optimise and develop their software to perfection. This will only get better as the number of VW vehicles increases in the future.
This software development also comes as a result of VW learning painful lessons. VW has faced a problem with the delivery of its ID.3 hatchback as they were struggling to find the necessary software expertise. The first production units of the ID.3 will be launched with reduced functions and VW plans to offer the remaining features as part of an update in early 2021. ID.3 units produced are stored under dust sheets for months in private parking yards in Saxony, awaiting the fixed software. The software has caused a delay in the delivery schedule of the ID.3 which is now announced to begin in September.
With their software development given the green signal, VW can solve the issues the company faced earlier and will help in the transformation of the entire company into a software-driven one.