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Software Defined is the Future: Arm Limited’s Dipti Vachani talks the Digital Future of Mobility and the Integral Role Standardization Plays in WCX Keynote

Posted: April 19, 2023

Raise your hand if you think software defined is going to mean survival in the mobility industry.

That’s the request Arm Limited Senior Vice President & General Manager of Automotive Dipti Vachani posed to a room full of mobility professionals during the opening keynote of SAE International’s WCX 2023.

By the end of her talk, a lot more hands were in the air.

Vachani discusses the pervasiveness of hardware and software across multiple industries, and just how important understanding the capabilities of software in vehicles is to the future of automotive.

“Hardware matters, but really, innovation is happening on the software side,” Vachani said.

You don’t have to look too far for examples of leading technology areas in the mobility sector where software innovation is happening. Vachani cited electrification, autonomy, and user experience as just a few developing areas where evolving the code is essential. As artificial intelligence and machine learning are further ingrained into our way of life, Vachani explained it’s crucial to focus on software updates and how they affect the modern vehicle.

She emphasized the importance of finding a new approach to software that focuses on updatability, security, and scalability to offer consumers the experience they are looking for, and that growing in this area presents a wealth of opportunities to automakers. In 2023, Vachani says, about 50 percent of the top ten automakers are adding new features to their vehicles via software updates.

“I believe it is going to be a race,” Vachani said. “Some will win and some will fall behind.”

So what’s the secret to getting ahead?

Vachani outlined four pillars to achieving the software defined vehicle—standards, new software methodology, vehicle simulation and industry collaboration.

To that end, Arm Limited and over 80 other organizations are coming together through the Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge (SOAFEE) project to create a standardized framework that enables a mixed-critical workload across cloud and vehicle servers.

Working together and moving fast are crucial to succeeding in a digital world, Vachani shared.

“If you’re not thinking about it now, it’s way too late,” she said.