As the automotive industry transforms Software-Defined Vehicles (SDVs), many market drivers are shaping this transition. In this exclusive interview, Anup Sable, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of KPIT Technologies Ltd., a leading automotive software integrator, sheds light on the importance of KPIT’s role in creating this future.
OEMs have the potential to generate billions of dollars of revenue by 2030 with luxury experiences. Vehicles are increasingly gravitating towards full vehicle autonomy, ubiquitous connectivity, electrification, and personalization. Moreover, market differentiation necessitates continuous user experience refresh through software updates. The resulting data monetization opportunities are driving OEM transition towards Software-defined Vehicles. As software complexity is exponentially increasing, hardware-software separation has become non-negotiable to the success of SDVs. Central Compute-based Zonal Architecture, the use of ethernet as a backbone for communication and the middleware that abstracts the complexity of deployment from the feature development team is of top-most priority for all OEMs.
Essentially, the SDV journey needs to meet the following objectives.
1. Software features should be easy to develop and test.
2. It should be possible to deploy the features developed at any given time on various hardware options available at a later time.
To realize these objectives, a new approach to the architecture, which focuses on central- compute processors connected to the rest of the vehicle through zonal computers, is necessary.
Even though the central-compute architecture provides the promise of ease and speed of feature development, there is a lot to be achieved as a critical goal:
Feature development should be easy and scalable. It should be possible to deploy it effectively on the architecture without breaking the integrity of the software/hardware for performance, reliability and safety. The deployment complexity in the new architecture must not hinder the feature development speed.
For this to be achieved, the following steps are necessary to be taken by the OEM:
1. Define a data-first architecture to help effectively utilize high-speed Ethernet
2. Harmonize the communication and Software architecture
3. Rationalize the signal and service strategy
The inability to achieve the above would be counterintuitive to realize the goals of SDV.
The entire concept of Central-Compute Network Architecture is new in SDV and needs the appropriate technology to validate the architectural concepts. More than 30 such system buckets need to be addressed and verified at an early stage of architecture definition so that the right architectural choices are made.
It is also essential to consider the underlying software platform that must be open and scalable to host multi-domain application code, which will exceed 150 million lines of code in current cars. The platform needs to separate the “ease of development” from the “complexity of deployment”. The focus should be on creating a seamless development experience for function/application developers and easing the complexity of software integration. Interoperability of algorithms and data requires hosting mixed-mode application development. For example, service-oriented, signal-oriented, controls, state-machine and streaming applications interact seamlessly on a multi-processor architecture.
Another point to consider is reusing existing software and test infrastructure and aligning it for SDV. Thousands of applications need to be reused as-is as software but may be redistributed in multiple hardware choices that may be available. In either case, OEMs need a well-thought strategy and plan to accelerate the migration of applications to SDV with minimum re-investment of software, tools and other infrastructure required for development.
Lastly, OEMs must formulate a development automation strategy using CI/CD, virtual and physical validation. Creating an early roadmap for program and vehicle-level implementation is the need of the hour. A lot of focus needs to be given to virtual development and validation by creating the right roles within the organization so that its benefits can be leveraged across software teams in the OEM to achieve a faster development cycle at a global scale.
KPIT Technologies is arguably the largest independent software integration partner helping mobility leapfrog towards a clean, smart, and safer future. More than 12000 automobelievers across the globe specialize in system architecture consulting and validation, embedded software, middleware, AI, and digital solutions. KPIT has structured its internal organization in three key clusters to align with SDV development. The first cluster is architecture consulting and middleware, which helps OEMs with platform development, integration and virtual engineering; the second cluster is Domain development, migration and integration for Autonomous Driving, Electrification and Body Electronics and last but not least, cloud-based connected services to help clients build a digital cockpit with upgradeable services and predictive diagnostics. Since SDVs need a significant overlap among these three areas, we also collaborate among these clusters to increase the breadth and depth of our offerings to our clients.
As a result, we have created more than 75 platforms, tools and accelerators across the domains through this collaboration. I want to elaborate on two new solutions in particular. First is an approach for legacy migration which improves the platform’s performance by orders of magnitude in terms of resource utilization. Another example is a scalable, virtual engineering ecosystem infrastructure integrated with DevOps to smoothen the ‘left-shift’ of V cycle with continuous visibility of SW quality. The integrated virtual strategy helps enable more than 90% of tests in a virtual environment, which has been achieved together with a robust partner ecosystem. At the same time, it makes it accessible to 10,000+ Engineers through the cloud.
Technica specializes in system architecture, prototyping and system validation through its technology-leading suite of products. These products are specially designed for central and zonal-compute architectures. Technica solutions seamlessly align with KPIT’s middleware and software integration expertise. KPIT and Technica together can be an integral part of the OEM journey from pre-SOP to post-SOP and help OEMs mitigate significant program risks through the combined knowledge we bring to the table. We help OEMs jumpstart through the E/E architecture blueprint in the pre-SOP stage, which sets the foundation to advance SOP by at least a year. Technica can also accelerate the program and reduce risks by developing hardware prototypes during the architectural PoC phase, which is essential for the early architectural concept validation and helps OEM accelerate their journey to achieve sample B.
This also stages Technica’s expertise to service the OEM at the system validation stage. Technica can also be the system integration partner while the OEM development with Tier 1 continues. Technica offers a very complementary fit to KPITs offerings at the top of the V cycle on both the left and the right-hand side and thus brings an integrated offering advantage to the OEMs.
KPIT focuses on reducing the risks in the OEMs’ SDV programs by proactively working with various ecosystem partners from chip to cloud and identifying technical issues that could be addressed ahead of the SOP critical timelines.
KPIT is accelerating OEM implementation of next-generation technologies for future mobility, collaborating on six large SDV programs with automotive OEMs. For example, Renault Group has chosen KPIT as a strategic software scaling partner for co-developing their SDV programs from the blueprint to SOP implementation in 2026. Additionally, KPIT is collaborating with Honda to realize its Software-Defined Mobility (SDM) journey through software integration and joint accountability for the platform and feature development. We provide the scalability that these programs demand through our global footprint of the talent pool, expertise through solutions and accelerators, risk mitigation through partnerships and agile methodology.
We are also focusing and investing in the potentially anticipated issues as the SDV expands the boundaries to features that transcend the vehicle boundary to the cloud.
Chief Technology Officer and Board Member
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KPIT Technologies is a global partner to the automotive and Mobility ecosystem for making software-defined vehicles a reality. It is a leading independent software development and integration partner helping mobility leapfrog towards a clean, smart, and safe future. With 11000+ automobelievers across the globe specializing in embedded software, AI, and digital solutions, KPIT accelerates its clients’ implementation of next-generation technologies for the future mobility roadmap. With engineering centers in Europe, the USA, Japan, China, Thailand, and India, KPIT works with leaders in automotive and Mobility and is present where the ecosystem is transforming.
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