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Collaborate and pool to build European strategic autonomy

With the preparation of the shift from KDT to Chips JU, there will be more attention to deliverables along the entire value chain of electronics – that is to say, the outcome of dedicated research should benefit the different fields of application more than ever before because there will be more funding opportunities for nano-micro hardware. This goes hand in hand with all the other initiatives of the future Chips Act and also of the IPCEI in order to address global competition and a chips shortage that continues to significantly affect the European economy.

Strategic autonomy in the automotive domain.

A second context is that mobility, particularly the road mobility sector, will be one of the biggest and fastest growing application sectors requiring electronics. Both automotive and electronics are closely linked in their growth. It is precisely because of this that Asia and the USA have started to create strategic building blocks to capitalise on their respective needs and capabilities ahead of time.

This is where we introduce the concept of European strategic autonomy, which – in the context of resource scarcity (brains, investments, solutions, and materials) – can be built only by collaboration, resource pooling and more standardisation across players. But gaining strategic autonomy in hardware, software and data will not be possible without changing the current car industry paradigm, without an alignment of Participating States in the tripartite funding of the KDT/Chips Act, without an alignment between ministries in individual member states and without the involvement of all of the main players in the specific vertical domain, building on the work already conducted rather than competing with it or recreating it.

At Inside Industry Association, with this analysis back in our mindset, together with the Commission and member states, we decided to verify if there was a common understanding to further collaborate on a Software-defined Vehicle (SDV) with the intent of creating a European open-yet-protected platform and common building blocks supporting the future architectures of devices and vehicles in road mobility.

A new initiative for the vehicle of the future. The birth of this initiative took advantage of a constructive way of acting with the European Commission and the participating countries: Inside was seconded by the two other private industry associations of the KDT to set up several meetings aiming for an official public consultation, which took place in a hybrid set-up in Prague on December 20th, 2022. These regular consultations between the electronics and automotive players, the sherpa governance group of automotive OEMs and Tier1s, the national automotive associations (VDA, PFA, ANFIA) and public authorities represent a strategic step in identifying future plans and related actions. Since then, a significant and sufficient number of public and private stakeholders have given their support to building up a focus area and roadmap of the vehicle of the future, allowing the European Commission in collaboration with relevant Member States to publish two KDT calls in 2023 (RIA and CSA) as the first step towards a European platform for the vehicle of the future. More specifically, the RIA call was focused on the SDV aiming at building:

  • An open reference SDV architecture with standardised interfaces, APIs and data formats to allow abstraction between technology layers.

  • A reference implementation and piloting of the SDV architecture based on common building blocks and related toolsets, including a toolchain covering the whole product lifecycle.

  • Equal level playing field for suppliers and OEMs.

  • A rich ecosystem for developers (skills).

The reference architecture and the implementation of standardised software building blocks and interfaces, complemented by software development and validation toolsets, shall be used in evolving SDV architecture scenarios of European OEMs and Tier1s and will provide the following benefits:

  • Resilience of the supply chain and European strategic autonomy, facilitating the integration of emerging European hardware, keeping software development attractive in Europe instead of India and the US, and reducing dependency on non-EU components.

  • Cost and time reduction, reducing costs by abstracting from the underlying HW (decoupling automotive software development from the underlying sensing, actuation, safety and control hardware), having common toolsets for non-differentiating features (design, development, debugging, testing), accelerating certification processes, and coordinating existing EU initiatives.

  • Quality: annihilating the ‘more productivity = lower software quality’ equation among automotive players.

  • Competition: an open and pre-competitive collaboration platform avoids vendor lock-in and standardisation monopolies, facilitates inclusion and positions Europe vis-à-vis with tech giants who set de facto standards.

In the perspective of a European platform for the vehicle of the future, the 2023 calls will be followed in 2024 by an eventual call for a high-end automotive hardware platform, which will co-ordinate with the SDV platform and complement it, facilitating the gradual adoption of emerging European HW.

The need to be rapid and agile.

Although the SDV aims to respond to obsolescence, the challenge will be to conduct a titanic restructuring of the industry while keeping a constant care for sustainability commitments, considering the Green Deal, e-waste, recycling, repairing, eco-design and net-zero commitments - cf. initiatives like the EPoSS Task Force on Green ECS. [...]

[...] Read the full article via this link: Inside Issue 4

Cover Inside Industry Association Magazine- Issue 4


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