In their drive to build the cars of the future, Germany’s large automakers are focusing increasingly on the computer programming in their vehicles.
“Cars are becoming smartphones on wheels,” Daimler Chairman of the Board of Management Ola Källenius told German business newspaper Handelsblatt. “To stay competitive, we will have to control the software.”
Daimler – together with competitors Volkswagen and BMW – are working on systems software to run all functions centrally. One advantage to this, Källenius told Handelsblatt, is that additional applications could be sold to customers much as is the case with smartphones. Cars will also provide manufacturers with a multitude of commercially useful data about car owners.
While controversial, data collection by “smart cars” is potentially very lucrative, and Germany’s big three don’t want to fall further behind. At present, despite having delivered only 800,000 vehicles, American maverick carmaker Tesla has collected the same amount of data as VW has with 100 million vehicles.