Hyundai Motor and Kia are forming a Model-Based Development (MBD) consortium to boost competitiveness in vehicle control system development. The group is focused on standardizing a transition to Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs), through an open and shared development ecosystem and collaboration between industry-leading companies.
To explain SDVs and how they impact the automotive industry, let’s first look at the mobile telephone industry. Early in the mobile telephony industry time-line the hardware used in each device brought to market was essentially different, not only from competitors, but in many cases different than other products offered by the brand. These hardware differences became the way to differentiate one product (and the brand who marketed it) from the next. One portable mobile phone had a huge battery pack that was slung around with a strap like a purse or a fanny-pack. Another phone could not be carried about on your person but was intended instead to be installed in your car. Another phone was small enough to be carried about in your pocket but you would need to charge it a few times a day and it did not have the technical capability of also replacing your Daytimer or Palm Pilot (managing your contacts or schedule), or replace your portable digital camera in quality, or replace your iPod for listening to music.
As the mobile telephony industry and their products matured the hardware from various manufacturers became essentially similar, both model-to-model and brand-to-brand. Yes, one could argue that a display on a specific Android model from LG or Samsung had a few more pixels, or that a specific Apple model had a better camera, but from at 40,000 ft view the hardware between competing brands and products were pretty similar. As the industry matured what defined brands and their products were their software, both the operating system which broadly classified a device as being compliant with a given ecosystem, but also software apps available on a operating system which gave a brand or model a competitive advantage over others.
But for this to work Apple needed to develop an iOS ecosystem, hardware which would work seamlessly under it, and a way to vet software applications from developers. Similarly; LG, Samsung and others needed to agree to build hardware for the Android operating system, and Google needed to offer apps in their app store.
What Hyundai and Kia just did was get seventeen other companies to agree on working together in concert to develop the automotive equivalent to the mobile telephony operating system, hardware compliance standards and app development.
What are Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs)?
A SDV is essentially a car whose hardware systems comply to a given operating system ecosystem and where the installed features of the vehicle can continually be monitored or updated through software updates. Additionally, new features can continually be rolled out (potentially extending the life-cycle of a model). Should the car manufacturer so choose these new features may carry with them a one-time fee, or a monthly subscription, thus adding a future or ongoing revenue stream the automotive industry is just now realizing the advantage of.
The Hyundai Kia Consortium
Hyundai and Kia signed a multilateral agreement with 17 industry-leading companies, including various Hyundai Motor Group affiliates and software development companies, to form the Hyundai Motor Group Model-Based Development (MBD) Consortium.
The development of advanced Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs) requires integrated software that controls the various electronics in the vehicle based on domain centralized architecture. In the past, control software had to be implemented specific to a given hardware piece, then verified and further improved. But the MBD-based model has the advantage of maximizing efficiency by verifying functions prior to manufacturing hardware via algorithms and virtual simulation, thus shortening development time while improving quality.
“We aim to accelerate the Software Defined Vehicle transition through standardization and an open development ecosystem with the close collaboration with industry-leading companies,” said Yong Wha Kim, Executive Vice President, and Head of R&D Planning & Coordination Center of Hyundai Motor and Kia. “Technology sharing and collaboration derived from the consortium will be the key factor in the enhancement of the software competitiveness. We look forward to providing a more advanced mobility experience to customers through SDV.”
The consortium includes a total of 19 Korean and international companies with leading software and virtual technologies, including vehicle controller system developers. The participating companies consist of the Group’s affiliates, including Hyundai Motor, Kia, Hyundai MOBIS, Hyundai WIA, Hyundai KEFICO, Hyundai Transys, Hyundai NGV and Hyundai AutoEver as well as Robert Bosch, Vitesco, HL Mando, dSPACE, MathWorks, SureSoft Tech, Synopsys, IPG Automotive, ETAS, ControlWorks and Vector.
The participants will share technology to enhance their respective competitive edge and to help accelerate the SDV transition by establishing a standardized environment for software development and virtual validation.
In 2022, the Group announced a new global strategy to transform all vehicles to SDV by 2025 through the ‘Unlock the Software Age’ initiative. The Group hopes to deliver an unprecedented era of mobility through such an initiative, presenting customers with the freedom of movement and providing innovative user experience through software-connected, safe and comfortable mobility solutions.