Today’s cars have more in common with high-end computers than they have with the Model Ts that rolled off of Ford’s assembly line in 1908. Mobility has evolved from just getting a passenger from point A to B. The modern automotive industry, at the crossroads of personalization, connectivity & safety is getting people from A to B by combining a host of digital solutions.
The latest in this line is the emergence of the digital cockpit — a digital screen in place of the traditional instrument cluster. The digital cockpit provides a futuristic digital experience within a car covering multiple screens, digital assistant integrations and different means of input.
Evolution of The Digital Cockpit Ecosystem
The biggest flaw in the traditional instrument cluster is that they are below eye-level and behind the steering wheel, which obstructs the view. There is also the issue that information is spread across the board and in a non-standard way. While digital dashboards have been able to solve the problem of standardizing information, accessibility still remains an issue.
Current market trends analyzed by Draup points to the emergence of a new breed of Head–Up Display (HUD) units. The humble tachometer, perpetually housed in the dashboard will move on to your windshield thanks to holographic AR. Not just the tachometer. The eventual goal is to convey as much information as possible such as fuel gauges, maps information, etc., at the eye level.
Integrated with GPS systems, HUDs can also convey navigational instructions directly onto the windshield.
Other areas in the digital cockpit arena seeing rapid innovations are:
- Digital Cluster Development – Fully configurable clusters where the driver info is integrated into a central touch screen. This sub-segment is expected to reach a market valuation of $6.6 billion by 2025 with significant research going into developing anti-glare and high-brightness TFT screens.
- Infotainment & Head Unit – Deeper integration of CarPlay / Android Auto and virtual assistants in AR/VR avatars. The current market valuation stands at $62 billion for this segment. Chinese automat
- Control Display – Customizable knobs & Curved OLED displays
- Embedded Telematics – Offers features such as GPS navigation, safety & emergency management, automatic driver assistance and others. Telematics also incorporated vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication protocols. These are in great demand in fleet management for logistics and cab aggregators.
- Mirror Replacement Vision System – Mirrors with video cameras that can recognize and gauge the speed of objects around the car.
The rise in demand for digital solutions in the above segments has seen various solution providers step-in to fill the gap.
Tech giants Google & Apple have also entered the foray into auto-tech with their Android Auto & ApplePlay digital companions. These cockpit assistants integrate with the car’s infotainment systems allowing people to perform in-car tasks without their phones. The systems work by projecting the phone interface onto the dashboard screens. While only available for a few select models now, they are expected to become an automotive mainstay within the next few years.
OEMs Are Adopting Unique Digital Cockpit Solutions
OEMs such as BMW, Ford, Tesla & others are forging non-traditional partnerships to gain the upper hand in the race for the cockpit of the future.
As vehicle dashboards are crowded with more digital Electronic Control Units or ECUs, OEMs will partner with specific cockpit solution providers for each model to offer unique solutions.
Volkswagen is working with NVIDIA for the development of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems(ADAS) for their Jetta and Golf R models. For the Audi A4 & A3 models, the OEM has adopted a multi-vendor approach, partnering with NVIDIA & BOSCH for the development of their MMI infotainment system. This system replaces the traditional instrument cluster and can display everything from a digital speedometer to Google Map satellite images.
On a more acoustic front, Hyundai has partnered with SoundHound for the development of their intelligent personal cockpit that features voice recognition, and audio control via AI & IoT.
Scope of Service Providers in the Digital Cockpit
Overall, Embedded Testing seems to be the most outsourced segment in the automotive digital cockpit, with 43% of the market share. This is followed by Design (33%), Development (23%) & other collaterals (~1%).
We analyzed 39 active outsourcing partners across geographies and sub-verticals to get a clear picture of the workload distribution.
Top partners we identified include Wipro, TCS, Luxoft, KPIT, Bertrandt, Altran & Tech Mahindra.
By performing a close analysis of the workforce split, we were able to identify key sales enablement areas for service providers.
For example, in Tech Mahindra, 58% of the workforce is engaged in embedded testing that includes:
- Testing of SYNC Gen 3 infotainment system
- Testing of Infotainment Diagnostics and CoC_System Platform
- Testing of applications using Sensorics-Testing(ADAS)
Whereas in the case of design major Bertrandt, the workforce split is 46% for design, working on:
- Design and Validation of Digital and Analog Radio Tuner
- Design of Driver Assistance System
~8% in Bertrandt is also engaged in embedded testing for the infotainment system of SEAT & AUDI models.
In their Greater Atlanta Area location, Wipro is engaged in design & development areas with their workforce split across:
- Design of Radio Head Unit with AM or FM, digital and satellite radio, media, Bluetooth and high–speed infotainment
- Design of VP4R infotainment platform
- Advancement in safety through IFV (intelligent front vision ) for BMW Lane departure warning system
- Development of Next-generation NTG5 system for entertainment features, connectivity and navigation
Inarguably, the digital cockpit is a very niche area that requires highly specialized service providers to develop unique solutions for a growing market. As of 2020, the global cockpit electronics market stands at $55.1 billion.
Draup for Sales curates actionable, intelligent insights about key players in the automotive industry based on their current digital products/services and requirements. These strategic signals can assist service providers in developing customized niche sales proposals that will accurately meet their prospective OEM’s digital intentions.