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Competition is fierce in software for automakers

By January 9, 2017Article

In the past, innovation in automobiles came from enhancing the engine or the body of the car. Today, the latest software is what makes a car more unique and better than its competition. With all the advances in technology, it only makes sense that eventually your car would get a little update. Automakers are beginning to add software to their cars, and the competition for the best software development is revving up. Major automotive companies, like BMW and Ford, have already started implementing software into their latest models. They hope to enhance the customer experience and make improvements to cars more accessible. 

Automakers are deciding to utilize software in their newer designs to save themselves a bit of hassle. Manufacturers no longer have to constantly spend time and money to design new cars; they can simply just tweak the update every few months and the consumer will be content with what they have. It also saves manufacturers quite a bit of money. They no longer have to pay to fix everyone’s car if there is a recall or something was built wrong. Automakers can simply tell the software on the car to fix the issue as soon as they discover a problem. 

Bringing software into the automotive industry allows for automakers to enhance the car experience for not only themselves but the consumer as well. In this day and age, we want the latest technology in everything we do, but buying a brand new Toyota Highlander isn’t always possible. With cars being linked to the cloud, automakers can send updates to the cars and the car owners can update whenever they are ready for something new. They can even update certain features of a car years after it is manufactured. Consumers love it. It makes a not-so-new car exciting again. 

Software in cars can encompass many different aspects. There can be everything from Bluetooth for phone calls, Spotify apps to OnStar and automatic braking for emergencies. There are all kinds of areas companies can incorporate technology into their cars; so if they don’t think a certain feature fits their brand, there is bound to be something else that will. 

Automakers are also using software features to create a new market in the auto industry. Car owners can pay a fee to receive extra features, similarly to how consumers already pay for a subscription for satellite radio. Many companies are incorporating selling these features into their business models. 

Car manufacturers are realizing where the auto world is going, and they know they can’t get there alone. Automation is the next big innovation for cars. Automakers make cars, not software; but they can’t create an automatic car without that software. Many manufacturers and suppliers are buying tech companies to get a leg up on their competition. Having these software companies under their belt gives them the inside scoop on the latest technologies, and they have someone who is an expert in the industry to implement those into their products. Even companies like Uber are buying software companies to get ahead of the game. 

Tech companies are finding an open door in their industry and taking advantage of it. Companies such as Apple and Google are stepping into the automotive world and are becoming competition for the traditional car companies. Startups are joining the game in hopes of being bought out early on. Technology companies will be in high demand among car manufacturers in the coming years as they realize they will not be able to move into the future of cars without them. 

The car industry is changing, like every other aspect of our lives, to a digital world. Automakers are realizing they can’t keep their foot in the door without the help of software, and the competition to get the best of the best is heating up. 

Rick Delgado is a technology commentator and writer. He writes for,, and Follow him on Twitter.