Expert warns car companies on the costs of failed software

A leading software quality company has warned vehicle manufacturers that they must place quality assurance at the centre of their systems, before they suffer irreparable brand damage.

Connectivity is no longer a feature reserved for the luxury end of the car market. Over the next five years the number of connected cars on the road is predicted to rise significantly. The research company Gartner forecasts that one in five vehicles across the world will have a wireless network connection by the year 2020, amounting to more than 250 million connected vehicles worldwide. Growing consumer demand for the connected car has led to a shift in consumer expectation. In a recent What Car? Motoring Panel survey, connectivity was deemed a more important purchasing factor than a car’s brand prestige, previous experience with the model, ability to personalise and its CO2 emissions.

Dr. Martyn Jeffries,  Head of Automotive Solutions at SQS, warns that customers will increasingly assess their vehicles on the stability of these systems. “Stories abound from automotive forecourts of consumers not only expecting their phones and digital music to be accessible as standard but the whole family now wants to remain connected to the internet at all times too, especially keeping the kids entertained and connected to their friends on long journeys. This has meant that automotive manufacturers need to build increasingly sophisticated ‘computers on wheels’. It is therefore a necessity to implement software quality assurance to eliminate unseen errors which could negatively impact the customer experience and ensure brand reputation is maintained.”

The UK will be a vital geography for the integration of vehicles into the IoT. Earlier this year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announced that car plants in the UK produced more than 1.5 million vehicles last year – a new car every 20 seconds – the highest number since 2007. While the numbers are impressive, it has led to calls for the UK automotive industry to future proof their manufacturing processes to deal with the increase in production quantities and the manufacturing complexities associated with the rising consumer demand for the next generation of connected ‘smart’ car.

“The message is clear – giving your business the software backbone that will enable it to compete in the rapidly changing automotive industry in the wake of the connected car could make the difference between success and failure,” Jeffries added. “Working with an outsourced UK-based specialist can ensure software systems are delivered faster, more robustly and ultimately more suited to the changing need. If the automotive industry is to reach and sustain the record-breaking production levels predicted by the SMMT it must ensure that its software is ready to meet these demands.”