This is silly, about software. For all of Tesla’s battery wizardry, the company’s equally impressive coup is creating a vehicle that can be easily updated and improved like a smartphone. While other automakers are finally building long-range electric vehicles, Tesla has a considerable beginning to design a computer-like car.
Efforts are being made to replace Sybros Technologies Inc., a startup filled with talent from Tableau and Uber. A two-year-old company is selling a system that says anyone can change it Vehicle In a network of firmware and software, all are tightly connected to the cloud – critical updates are downloaded to the machine while valuable data runs on the Sybros server. Market: Millions of passenger vehicles are sold every year that are not made by Elon Musk.
We caught up with CEO and co-founder Hemant Sikaria to talk about the struggles of traditional car manufacturer companies with software and what a connected vehicle will look like five years from now.
Where did the idea for the company come from?
In our family, we actually have five vehicles from one manufacturer – two different models. All five were recalled for a software issue. I thought, ‘This is ridiculous.’ It was back in early 2018. I was starting to think about what to do in the auto space.
Wasn’t your issue a discrepancy?
I did a lot of research and realized that most automakers have too much marketing [software], But no one is ever really able to correct. There are some OEMs, to ensure that they can update software on a handful of controllers in their vehicle – perhaps 9 or 5 controllers out of 50 or 40. Is air conditioning on or off? Are the windows open? Are the lights on? Those types of simple things can be tracked. It is very underdeveloped.
The reason for this is so difficult that it is not the same as operating your phone, where there is a chip and an operating system. You have different operating systems, different vehicle networks. It becomes very complicated. We are talking for a very important number [automakers] Worldwide. Most of them can collect perhaps 50 parameters from a vehicle, although a typical vehicle has 4,000 to 5,000 parameters.
Would it be fair to say that you are trying to build a Tesla-like software system for non-Tesla?
Yes and no Everything that was built at Tesla was built for Tesla vehicles, which has a very distinctive architecture and design. The vehicle manufacturer we are talking to has different vehicle architectures — we need to be able to support in a common way. We do not want to do one-time consultancy work to support each vehicle. There are two basic building blocks that need to be in place: software updates and diagnostic commands to get meaningful data under the vehicle and out of the vehicle and to the cloud.
So how many vehicles do you have in the forest, so to speak?
We currently have around half a million vehicles that are using our platform. And we are working with more than a dozen automakers that make everything from bikes, motorbikes and scooters to luxury vehicles.
Is this an easy sale?
When we talk to OEM for the first time, they say, ‘Hey, we have software updates; We have a supplier we are working with. But we have a real difference on the data collection side. ‘When we make a deal with them, we show them data collection, but we also show them software updates. Usually, after this they would say, ‘We didn’t realize how far behind we were’.
What is your revenue model?
Most vehicle manufacturers still treat hardware such as software. As we go through the buying process, they want to see a full front, fully baked cost for each vehicle. We give them a value that includes support, integration and everything for that vehicle. The customer pays us for 5 years, so we do not have a cash flow issue. Pricing is also very difficult, as we are given below the price they feel they can manufacture internally. Even we are going to take two years to build the platform, because it has been completely removed.
As part of the challenge, vehicle manufacturers are trying to build in-house.
The typical large automaker employs hundreds of people [over-the-air programming] Or data collection and they have been working on it for years. Hardware, mechanical Engineering And software engineering, all belong to one leader, so each company has 50 leaders. Then there are mini silos. He is subject to all product development And Badal is under IT department. With all those silos and in these big companies you can literally get lost in a sea of people.
What is the competition?
The biggest threat is still these suppliers. Herman and Bosch are older. They have big pockets and pre-existing relationships Companies.
Where will you be in three years?
Where we think we are and where the industry is, it is like 2008 and the iPhone launch. Steve Jobs created this amazing product, but I’m sure he can’t leave the multi-billion-dollar companies built at the top of his platform. In the automotive industry, we feel like we are the iPhone. We are collecting data, performing all diagnostics that will enable many other applications in the future, whether we build them or we work with partners to build them. We want to be on 100 million vehicles over the next four years and we want to move beyond the auto industry – it can be a drone, it can be a mining device, it can be an industrial robot. The most complex use-case of all is the luxury sedan. Once we solve this, we are confident that we can leave many other industries.
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