‘On the right track’: Ericsson exec details an auto industry driven by software, cloud
According to the Head of Automotive at Ericsson Magnus Gunnarsson, the auto industry is undergoing a speedy transition into new business models that are driven by software and underpinned by cloud connectivity and the advancement of electric vehicles (EVs). He told Enterprise IoT Insights, this suggests that the industry is “on the right track” to achieving safer, more efficient and more autonomous vehicles.
First, Gunnarsson explained that while there is nothing inherent about EVs that makes them particularly apt for advanced connectivity, it is important to take a step back to understand why these two concepts are often linked.
“There is no fundamental change of driving an electric vehicle versus a traditional combustion type of vehicle — it’s still a piece of metal and plastic on four rubber wheels,” said Gunnarsson, adding, however, that when OEMs set out to develop their electric vehicle lineups, they realized how different these vehicles were from an engineering perspective. So much so, he argued, that they needed to start from scratch.
“They developed a new in-vehicle architecture … designed for a more connected, updated and software-defined architecture than previous generations of internal combustion parts. Because the electric vehicle is newer, it has the benefit of being designed in this century … and with that comes a new type of mindset about how to stitch together electronic infrastructure [and] software. As a result, the EVs will consume and generate much more data,” he said.
Why Ericsson? What auto can learn from telecom
As more products and services are becoming software defined within the auto market, the orchestration of connectivity and connected services is becoming more complex. Things like new regulations, new data protections laws — and the geographical differences between these regulations and protections — only adds to this complexity for OEMs as they look to offer their connected cars on a global scale.
“It is tricky to provide the same type of service in North America, in Southeast Asia and the Middle East,” he reasoned. “[The service] has to be able to cover all of the regulations in each country. Moreover, the environment is quickly changing in terms of what types of ecosystem partners an auto maker or mobility provider are using [with the] entrance of hyperscalers, service providers and technology companies like Ericsson.”
Ericsson, therefore, is hoping to help simplify this orchestration, and because the telecom industry knows a thing or two about offering complimentary or even identical services on a global scale, the vendor is well positioned to do so.
“We’ve being doing this for close to 20 years,” Gunnarsson said. “Because there is one industry that already made this transition, and that is the communications industry. We know how it is to deliver the smartphone on a global level. That’s why automakers in larger numbers are turning to alliances with companies like Ericsson, so they have someone to partner up with on a truly global scale.”
With this global scale in mind, Ericsson teamed up with Microsoft in 2019 to combine their cloud-based connectivity management and compute-and-analytics platforms, respectively, for connected vehicles. Ericsson will build its Connected Vehicle Cloud, which it claims connects around 10% of the connected auto market, on top of the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP), which brings together cloud infrastructure, edge technology, and IoT sensors and analytics. The conjoined solution, they claimed, will enable automakers to deploy connected vehicle services more quickly and efficiently and then more easily scale those services globally. They cited examples including fleet management, over-the-air software updates and connected safety services.