07 Jan Software is changing auto manufacturing
It used to be that when discussing cars, terms like "miles per hour," "horsepower" and "fuel efficiency" were the most important. Dealerships would stress to customers how well an automobile would perform in everyday use for the entire family, or how many miles one filling of the gas tank would provide for highway driving. Keeping a car in good condition for an extended period of time meant having a strong engine that could handle years of use, and tires that would withstand various weather elements.
These factors still play a role in the discussion of automobiles, but as technology has evolved, so too has the conversation about what is most important in a new car. With advanced software programs now commonplace inside vehicles, customers have begun placing new priorities on what they are looking for from a car they're considering purchasing. Manufacturing companies must be aware of these changes in thinking, as well as the impact new software will have on their own business.
Customers who used to focus on technical excellence now have shifted their attention to electronics. An automotive manufacturer that can take advantage of this new way of thinking will be well positioned when the time comes to sell its products to the public.
The value of software in vehicles
The growth in electronics within automobiles has coincided with a population that constantly wants to stay connected, especially when it comes to their smartphones. That even holds true when people are driving, with music-playing applications, text message conversations, GPS maps and every other part of a phone still at a driver's fingertips. The desire to use everything a device offers is sometimes too much to resist. Merging electronics with the phone, or being able to replicate everything a mobile device has to offer on a car's dashboard, allows a car owner to be connected when they are on the road.
California-based automaker Tesla is seen to be at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution, so much so that other companies are looking to replicate their success. According to MLive, Ford and other automakers have developed research operations near Tesla's Palo Alto headquarters to learn more about automotive software technologies.
Along with connecting to drivers' smartphones through Bluetooth and making the vehicles themselves Wi-Fi hotspots, the electronic manufacturing steps some cars are taking now go beyond where some customers could have ever imagined. Again, Tesla is the leader of this revolution. The Tesla Model S has a software update that allows the vehicle to change lanes in traffic and parallel park itself, without any extra hardware required by the driver, according to the company.
Electronic upgrades such as these have changed what customers have come to expect from vehicles. It has also altered what automotive manufacturing companies must be able to provide because the technology to stay connected and electronically navigate vehicles has proven to work. Many automakers are now trying to keep up and stay in tune with the latest trends.
Fortune magazine explained that already, companies such as Hyundai and BMW have worked with smartphone makers to connect mobile devices to center-screen dashboards to improve the connectability of drivers. From accessing map applications to making hands-free phone calls, the software within a car allows owners to stay connected while on the go. Given that car customers have become more tech-savvy, auto manufacturers see the value in doing the same.
Why oversight is needed
For automotive manufacturing companies, the change in thinking by the industry has made a direct impact on the work being produced. Drivers want to purchase cars with advanced electronic software inside, so that is what companies must provide. And not only does the software have to be beneficial now – it must sustain itself. Nearly 80 percent of car owners stated in an AutoMD study that they plan to keep their vehicles for 10 or more years, or until the car dies.
An automotive manufacturing company can help keep pace by using cloud-supported software, such as NGIMES from Atachi. The program collects and studies data, helping a business improve efficiency while keeping costs down. Figuring out the best way to integrate software within cars is a time-consuming experience, as well as an expensive one. Oversight from NGIMES can clarify the process so that a company can deliver what customers want as quickly as possible.
Measure performance and monitor excellence by acquiring Atachi's NGIMES for automotive manufacturing. With increased responsiveness that can match customer demands, the cloud-supported program is a necessity for any business that wants to boost its presence in the automotive software landscape.