Custom App Development

Automotive Software Development – A Guide for Auto Companies’ Success

Maha Yaser 19-Sep-2023
Automotive Software Development – A Guide for Auto Companies’ Success

Automotive software development is the need of the hour as customer expectations and changing requirements fuel the industry’s digital transformation.

From safety systems to infotainment, a diverse range of applications are making their way into vehicles. And your app should be the next one to meet drivers’ demands of connected and autonomous rides.

What the Industry Expects from Automotive Software Development

In addition to helping industry members stay competitive, automotive software development is expected to enhance operational efficiency, improve customer experiences, and drive innovation.

By leveraging fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technologies, companies aim to create a seamless, digitally integrated ecosystem that achieves three objectives:

  1. Streamline customers’ digital buying experiences
  2. Leverage the customer data collected over the years
  3. Uncover new revenue opportunities

1) Streamline Digital Buying Experiences

Customers expect automotive companies to deliver the streamlined digital buying experience they get from other industries such as retail.

Similarly, they believe post-purchase activities such as managing car loans or downloading service updates need to be more digital.  

Most organizations are already well advanced on their transformative journeys. Research by McKinsey reveals that most organization believe they’re “overperforming” when it comes to automotive digital transformation.

Despite all that, customers report unsatisfying interactions. For instance, some companies are yet to jump on the transparent communication bandwagon that started trending post the pandemic.

Two other common complaints are limited customization and complex post-purchase experiences.

2) Leverage Customer Data for Customer Experience

Until recently, majority of automotive companies rely on third-party sources to get customer data.

The constant change in internet privacy regulations, however, will force companies to collect information from customers themselves.

For that, organizations need to ensure timely and relevant communication – a feat that requires personalization. Personalized communications across channels like email and text have the power to drive sales and margin.

3) Uncover New Revenue Opportunities

Members of the industry are focusing their automotive software development efforts on connectivity, mobility as a service, and asset monetization.

Connected vehicle data, connected apps, and autonomous capabilities are some of the connectivity initiatives automakers are working on. Especially since the volumes of data these vehicles generate will help address customers’ needs better.

Adding to their appeal is that these initiatives offer cross-selling retail opportunities. For example, Toyota is targeting fleet business, offering support service and premium features.

Like connectivity, mobile as a service (MaaS) offers many business prospects, including peer-to-peer car sharing, demand responsive transit (DRT), and multimodal parking.

As for asset monetization, automotive companies are coming up with ideas to strengthen their brand value and reduce costs.

For instance, some are selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or premium merchandise to create new revenue channels.

Successful Automotive Software Development Initiatives

Many top automotive companies have already rolled out software solutions successfully, and are reaping the benefits. Here are six case studies to inspire you.

1) Tesla’s Autopilot System

Tesla’s Autopilot is a prime example of cutting-edge automotive software. It includes features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping, and self-parking.

What further makes this solution stand out is that it’s continuously improved through over-the-air updates (OTA).

OTA entails remotely updating software or firmware on a device, typically without requiring the user to take any action.

This is a unique approach in the automotive industry and a great example of the importance of continuous software development.

2) Volkswagen’s We Connect App

Volkswagen developed the We Connect app, allowing users to connect their vehicles to their smartphones. The app provides features like remote start, climate control, and vehicle health monitoring.

The We Connect app is a great example of leveraging automotive software development to enhance the driver’s experience and connectivity.

3) Waymo’s Self-Driving Technology

Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. (Google), is truly making waves in the field of autonomous vehicle development.

Its self-driving software is designed to navigate real-world scenarios safely. So far, the technology has undergone extensive testing on public roads, ensuring the software’s safety and reliability for self-driving cars.

4) Ford’s Sync Infotainment System

Ford’s Sync Infotainment System is one of the top examples of automotive software development for enhancing in-car user experience.

The system provides drivers with a range of entertainment, communication, and connectivity features while on the road. These include hands-free calling, voice-activated music and climate control, and emergency assistance.

5) Audi’s Traffic Light Information System

Audi is always coming up with innovative solutions, and this is no different. The automotive company rolled out a system that communicates with traffic lights to provide drivers with a countdown to the next green light.

As a result, the software helps drivers accurately time their arrivals at intersections. This, in turn, enhances traffic flow and reduces fuel consumption by helping drivers.

6) GM’s Super Cruise

Another great case study for automotive software development is GM’s Super Cruise.

This advanced driver-assistance system combines adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping for hands-free highway driving. Therefore, it adds semi-autonomous features in modern vehicles.

How to Make Your Mark in the Automotive Software Sector

For appreneurs and automotive companies alike, this is the right time to start automotive software development. However, if you wish to make an impact, the following tips will help you.

Be VERY Clear on the Purpose of Automotive Software

In order to ensure the success of your efforts, you need to be crystal clear on the goals of automotive software.

Basically, your software needs to deliver –

  • Improved Efficiency by automating different processes and adding value to car owners
  • Added Safety and Security to protect both automobiles and everyone inside them
  • Innovative Solutions that deliver the ‘wow’ factor buyers expect from a brand
  • Customization Capabilities to tailor the software according to companies’ and car owners’ needs while enhancing user experience
  • Efficient Data Collection to enable automotive companies to carry out data analytics and gain insights that can be used for future improvements

By ticking off as many of the above as possible, your software can help with accident reduction, predictive maintenance, customer service, and fuel efficiency.

Become Familiar with the Types of Automotive Software Out There

You may want to do your research before initiating the automotive software development process. For that, you should be familiar with the main categories of this type of software such as –

  • Infotainment Systems – This type of software provides multimedia, navigation, and connectivity services for an enriched driving experience.
  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) – ADAS use sensors and algorithms to improve safety via features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic emergency braking.
  • Telematics – This technology helps collect and transmit vehicle data for diagnostics, maintenance, and tracking purposes.
  • Autonomous Driving Software – This software enables vehicles to operate without human intervention by leveraging sensors, machine learning, and complex algorithms.
  • Vehicle Management Software – Using this software, car owners can monitor and control various vehicle systems, including engine performance, emissions, and fuel efficiency.

Be Mentally Prepared for a Few Common Challenges

It’s easy to be blinded by how lucrative automotive software can be, especially when it’s an innovative hit with users.

To ensure a balanced approach, here are some snags you may face during the development process –

  • Hardware Limitations – One of the biggest challenges of automotive software development is the hardware itself. While not impossible, it won’t be easy developing software that can efficiently run on limited hardware resources without compromising performance.
  • Safety and Security Concerns – You need to ensure that the software you produce meets rigorous safety standards. The software should also be protected from cyber threats or else your reputation will be at stake.
  • Compliance and Regulations – You must adhere to various global regulations and standards. So, you and your tech partner should be well aware of these constantly-evolving requirements.
  • Integration Complexity – Integrating software components from various suppliers is quite an intricate process. Therefore, you should ensure seamless functionality across different systems and exhaustively test this before rolling out your solution.
  • Quick Technology Changes – Keeping up with the rapidly evolving technological landscape is another challenge. That’s why you need a partner who believes in continuous learning and can readily adapt to new tools and methodologies.
  • Long Development Cycles – Automotive software development typically requires more time, leading to extended time-to-market. Rigorous testing and validation processes especially tend to be lengthy to ensure software reliability, performance, and safety.

Choose the Right Partner for Your Automotive Software Development Journey

Since they’ll handle most of the work, your automotive software development team should be top-notch. To help you determine if they’re a right fit, take the following factors into consideration.

  • Expertise – Look for teams with ample automotive software development experience. They should be able to prove their knowledge of industry standards and regulations.
  • Track Record – Evaluate the team based on their past projects, client testimonials, and case studies. You can easily request these to assess its capabilities and success in delivering similar solutions.
  • Technology Proficiency – Ensure the team is well-versed in relevant technologies, such as ADAS, telematics, and cybersecurity. That way, you can be sure of their ability to handle the complexities of automotive software development.
  • Communication – Choose a team that values clear and open communication. Preferably, go for an Agile team as the method prioritizes collaboration and transparency.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability – Only hire a team that can adapt to changing project requirements and technological advancements. That way, they can ensure your software remains up-to-date and relevant.
  • Quality Assurance – Find out if the team has robust quality assurance processes in place. These are a must to deliver reliable, secure, and high-performance automotive software solutions.
  • Support and Maintenance – Ask if the team you wish to hire provides comprehensive post-development support and maintenance services. If you get a ‘yes’, you won’t have to worry about any issues that may arise post-implementation.

Got an Idea for Automotive Software? Let’s Talk!

DPL’s innovative software developers are constantly looking for a new challenge. So, if you have an idea for automotive software, we’re here to create it for you.

Let us know about your next multi-million idea and our team will plan, execute, and deliver according to (if not beyond) your expectations.

So, fill the form below with as much details as possible and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Maha Yaser
Maha Yaser

A versatile copywriter with a software engineering degree, four years' experience as a teacher, 15 years of content writing and editing, and two years of eLearning expertise

image DPL is going through another major transformation to tackle the challenges presented by COVID-19. Read More