Reinventing the automotive market with Software Defined Vehicles

The future of the automotive industry: how SDVs are leading the charge

The next evolution of the automotive industry

With a rapid shift to a digital future in the automotive industry, consumers now expect a high level of automation and connectivity features when in the market for a new vehicle.

A lot has changed since the first connected service was introduced in 1996. In 2001, we saw Bluetooth and voice recognition join the ranks for applications. Over the Air (OTA) Infotainment services came into the picture in 2009 and in 2017 software updates and data management services were introduced, allowing multiple applications to be simultaneously available.  

Today, we’re approaching a new era,  a one with Software Defined Vehicles (SDV). A Software Defined Vehicle is any vehicle that manages its operations, adds functionality, and enables new features primarily or entirely through software. SDVs communicate with other smart devices around it via an integrated IoT network providing a 360- degree information platform back to the driver. 

A highly intelligent and flexible platform, that can be continuously upgraded, offers several benefits both to the user and the manufacturer. Consumers will benefit in many ways, including increased safety in their cars, enhanced features of convenience, real-time updates OTA for programs versus having to make appointments at the dealership along with new features becoming available at a faster pace, personalized services, additional data for the driver about their surroundings (i.e., weather) etc. Software and electric products will also leave a smaller footprint on the environment.

Auto manufacturers can take advantage of SDVs by reducing time to market and as a result selling more of their products. They will be able to develop hardware to work with software at the same time, reduce cost of integration and testing with more OEM participation, and less cost to provide updates to customers OTA versus individual appointments and staffing needed at the dealership.  With the ability to diagnose issues in advance and applying fixes remotely, OEMs can reduce costs on recalls and warranties as well as save time for the consumers.

Embracing the shift towards a SDV future

The concept of a software-defined vehicle may seem complex and unattainable in the near future but adapting cloud-based engineering principles can provide a scalable solution that can fundamentally change the way automotive software is developed, tested, and deployed.

With the option to choose from any one of the many cloud service providers, manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers can quickly modernize the way they operate and make SDVs a reality.

Understanding the architecture of SDVs

In this example, we explore the solution architecture for SDVs built on an AWS network. Starting with the vehicle data being sent to an IoT Core, it will send the data through the IoT Data Firehose, where it will be encrypted and sent to the AWS S3 Bucket.  From there, it is sent to the data stream and to a database for storage and search. Comparisons and driver scores are created using this data. 

Now, when a new car is purchased at the dealership, the owner will be able to add the features they want in their vehicle and know that they can get future updates OTA versus having to drive back for service.  A reliable network is needed to accomplish this data capture.  As secure data is ingested and brought up to the cloud, it is placed into data lakes, categorized by behavioral analytics, anomaly detection, health/diagnostics, location-based services, trip data, and alerts/notifications.


Source: AWS Connected Mobility Solution architecture

Dealerships can learn from the data and send AWS signals to the car owner if necessary to make necessary adjustments. The vehicle has a 360-degree swing of gathering information from surrounding smart devices of networks, infrastructures, pedestrians, other vehicles all within 300 meters.

What’s next for SDVs?

To reap the undeniable benefits of SDVs, OEMs will need to own their software in the future for connected cars leading to shared costs, faster deployment, and hardware abstraction.  They will also need to have control over the entire life cycle of the software and have more responsibility for the overall development.  The automotive market will see changes as the SDVs increase – the number of vehicles will increase on the platforms, software revenue will grow with demand, more experts will join and capabilities in the software will increase as OEMs will start to monetize connected vehicles and partner with software companies. With this new market, additional regulatory discussions will need to continue until a global network is established. 

How Reply can help

With millions of connected vehicles that interact bidirectionally with any system over the internet, bandwidth and costs for data transmission are no longer bottlenecks. Therefore, it is essential for automotive companies to keep pace with cutting-edge technologies before the implementation turns into a legacy system. Concept Reply has deep expertise in the automotive industry and provides IoT connectivity solutions and services to top automotive companies (OEM, Tier 1, Tier 2). We help our clients implement solutions to collect vehicle data, store it, and provide it to the end-users through user channels (mobile, web, voice services), that are critical to making SDVs a reality. Concept Reply specializes in offering end-to-end solutions along the entire value chain: from the definition of an IoT strategy, through testing and quality assurance, to the implementation of a concrete solution.


SDVs will provide the automotive market with increased customer engagement throughout the entire lifecycle of the vehicle.  Once the vehicle is sold, the software can be removed and a new, customized software set can be chosen by the next owner. Customer satisfaction and expectations will increase over time as products and processes are enhanced.  After the car leaves the factory or dealership floor, manufacturers can continue to enhance the driver’s experience and overall vehicle performance for their customers. This is a large paradigm shift for the industry with after-market changes now becoming possible for vehicles with SDVs, and this should also help cars to retain or possibly increase their value over time versus seeing depreciation.