“We are platform professionals for hardware and are now transferring this competence to software development,” says Christian Senger, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for Digital Car and Services. “We will develop software with uniform basic functions for all Group brands, which will allow us to drastically reduce complexity. In the medium term, we will benefit from the scale effects of our Group. This is especially meaningful in the software field and will lead to tremendous cost advantages,” Christian Senger adds.
Currently, up to 70 control units with operating software from 200 different suppliers need to be integrated in Volkswagen brand vehicles. In addition, there are different systems with similar functions within the Group, for example for infotainment and navigation. One uniform operating system with the same basic functions for all brands and the use of the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud for all Group models will considerably simplify the situation.
The same applies to the brands’ “digital ecosystems” which will be used for offering the services. All the brands need certain basic services, for example a simple search function for electric charging stations. At Volkswagen Passenger Cars, this service is called “We Charge”. For example, the basic functions “search for nearby stations” or “pay with different modes of payment” could be standardized for all brands.
With its standard software platform, Volkswagen is aiming to achieve significant economies of scale. In future, the vehicle fleet will include more than 10 million fully connected new vehicles per year, which will significantly reduce the cost of integrating the software in each individual vehicle. At the same time, digital ecosystems with a growing number of vehicles connected will become increasingly attractive for new partners and new customers.
Strengthening software competence and alignment towards modern digital development work
By 2025, Volkswagen intends to group more than 5,000 experts in competence areas such as software development, electrical and electronics development, connectivity, automated driving, user experience (UX), cloud architecture and e-commerce together in an agile “Car.Software” unit. They will work in five key areas and develop packages extending across the brands.
The objective is to orient the unit towards the requirements of innovative software development. For this purpose, Volkswagen will be contributing flexible working models, the latest collaboration technologies and agile types of cooperation. This year, about 500 experts are to work together in this agile software unit. The figure is already due to rise to about 2,000 by 2020.
In addition to grouping together experts from brands and companies within the Group, Volkswagen intends to boost the workforce especially by recruiting new specialists and consolidating strategic participations and acquisitions. It is intended to actively present the new software unit and to target IT and tech experts.
“We want to create a powerhouse for the digital car and cloud platform with the best digital experts in the world. We are convinced that Volkswagen will show what it can do. We will make software the core competency in our company,” says Christian Senger.