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Industry Trends

Deliver personalized vehicle experiences to the masses

Nov 15, 2023

Consumers today expect their digital devices–whether phones, computers, smart home gadgets, or smartwatches–to give them personalized experiences. Take for instance our smart home devices that can automatically turn off the alarm, open the garage door, set the thermostat, and turn on the lights when we get close to home. These actions are made possible by the flexibility of software and user-friendly programmability of “if-this-then-that” style automation routines.   

As vehicles become more digitalized and connected, it is inevitable consumers will expect similar flexibility and personalization from their vehicles–in fact, 56% say personalized experiences increase brand loyalty. However, while some luxury brands are starting to embrace such capabilities, the cost and complexity of feature integration within current vehicle architectures will keep it out of reach for the wider market. That changes with the transition towards software-defined vehicles, where it is now possible to deliver personalized experiences to all vehicles in a rapid and cost-efficient manner.

Beyond sport, comfort, and eco – imagining new drive modes

In a recent discussion with a vehicle Product Manager, we explored ideas for drivers to define personalized drive modes that do more than the standard comfort, eco, and sport settings. These settings would be context-aware, automatically adjusting the vehicle to fit a particular driving scenario. Imagine a ‘Highway Mode’ that a driver can personalize on the automaker’s companion app to automatically reconfigure the vehicle for more relaxed driving when adaptive cruise control is turned on. Triggered by that event, an automated routine is invoked and a series of personalized adjustments unfold: the seats move to support relaxed posture, the audio settings are enhanced for music, a road trip playlist is queued, and the ambient lighting dims to a glow. 

Unleash the power of software to rapidly innovate 

The product manager lamented that due to the rigidity of traditional vehicle architectures, introducing such a mode would typically take over a year of development, integration, and testing time, confining her great ideas to only future models. 

A software-centric, smart vehicle architecture combined with the right in-vehicle and cloud software solutions can enable OEM engineers to orchestrate existing vehicle functions to create new features at any time in the vehicle lifecycle. By using “if-this-then-that” style logic, automakers  can deploy new, cohesive in-vehicle experiences without the need for complex coding. And they can do this in days and weeks, not years. It’s possible to think up new experiences like ‘Highway Mode’ by integrating electronic features already in the vehicle such as drive modes, steering, suspension, power seats, HVAC, and ambient lighting to name a few. 

And the possibilities for innovation are endless.  By unleashing the power of software and vehicle-wide orchestration, automakers are only limited by their imagination for creating context-aware features tailored to individual needs and preferences. Think of a “Rental Mode” that allows rental fleet operators to limit speed and set geofences around where a renter is allowed to drive. Alternatively, imagine a scenario where a vehicle uses a weather alert predicting a cold morning to preheat the cabin 15 minutes before the start of the driver’s usual commute time. 

The future of vehicle personalization is here

Automakers are keenly interested in offering the type of personalization and continuous innovations that customers have come to expect from their digital devices. The adoption of the right Software-Defined Vehicle (SDV) solutions will enable OEMs to achieve this goal cost-effectively and efficiently, so that all vehicles–not just luxury models–deliver new and personalized experiences at any point in the vehicle lifecycle.

Learn how Sonatus Automator is helping automakers continuously add new and personalized features throughout vehicle lifetimes, along with other use cases supported by our products.

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