Automotive software is more important today than it’s ever been and we’re not just talking about the code that quietly lies beneath the surface. Manufacturers see the need to improve the way customers interact with their vehicles and software is the only solution. With that in mind, Volkswagen sees its platform as the product of the future.
Tesla pioneered the large screen method of infotainment and software but even Elon Musk now says that it’s not good enough. Despite that, it has a big head start on brands like Volkswagen with regard to driver assistance technology. For its part, VW wants to monetize such features as it builds out new software for the whole family.
To accomplish that it created a new division called Cariad. Speaking to Bloomberg, Cariad CEO Dirk Hilgenberg said: “There is a new business model already out there – a subscription model, or function-on-demand – where you can drive autonomously if you want, for the next 50 miles. We would support that.” Going even further, Hilgenberg sees integration with other services as a key component.
“You have to make sure to have what we call a digital services platform that lets the outside world in – Google, Apple, Amazon – where you can bring your accounts to stream and be entertained, or where you can work with office products, do a videoconference or prepare yourself for the next meeting. This is the product we want to sell. The product is our platforms,” he said.
He hopes that by combining these features that Volkswagen customers can recapture some of the time lost to active driving. Of course, that’s the same sort of promise that Tesla has been making for years and it has yet to fulfill all of those hopes. Even today, it’s embattled with some over its Full Self Driving technology.
There’s also the concern that many don’t want to buy a car that requires them to sign up for subscription services. Back in April, we reported on a Cox Automotive survey which found that three-quarters of consumers didn’t want to pay for a monthly or annual subscription service. So how do you feel about these types of charges? Let us know in the comments below!