Volkswagen CEO expects software to be 90 percent of innovation in new cars


REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

❝ Volkswagen will ramp up its hiring of software experts to ensure that the car and truck maker stays at the forefront of innovation in an industry geared toward refining mechanical, rather than software components…

Demand for software functions has risen exponentially as customers increasingly expect advanced driver assistance systems, smartphone connectivity and self-driving functions.

❝ “Today our 20,000 developers are 90 percent hardware-oriented. That will change radically by 2030. Software will account for half of our development costs,” Herbert Diess said.

Compared to a smartphone, a car has ten times as many lines of software code, and a self-driving car will have a thousand times that amount, Diess explained.

The carmaker needs more software engineers to program the various sensors and actuators within a vehicle, so that a self-driving car can develop the right reflexes to navigate traffic situations and avoid accidents.

When you can offer several completely different-purposed vehicles from the same essential skateboard platform, making software and top-of-the-skateboard functions do the work…you can roll out new products a lot faster and more cheaply than existing tech. Once you get up to economies of scale. Simplified platforms made possible by electrification need a few hundred parts to roll out – instead of the thousands needed in internal combustion vehicles. Simple works.

Ireland plans to make high-speed broadband a right for all citizens


Beautiful rural Eire – with slow internet if anyNeil Tackaberry

Politicians in Ireland plan to make fast, affordable broadband a legal right for every citizen…The country’s new communications minister Denis Naughten said on Wednesday, June 1 the government will ensure fast internet is enshrined in the country’s Universal Service Obligation (USO). Naughten compared fast broadband to electricity. “We want to ensure people have access to broadband as a right,” said Naughten in Silicon Republic. “I want it as an enforceable right.”

The EU country, which has traditionally lagged in national connectivity, is finalizing a $312 million National Broadband Plan that will accelerate broadband universal access to its 4.6 million citizens by 2022. The move would add the 30Mbps baseline service standard to Ireland’s 40-year-old USO which currently mandates copper telephone connections. In rural areas, 20% of the population lack such access. The plan is scheduled to break ground in 2017.

Rolling out the necessary infrastructure for high-speed internet parallels the rural electrification effort of the 1930s and 1940s. New cables and fiber optics must be strung on poles, or laid down in ditches, and to get last mile access to homes, new telecommunications equipment must be hooked up. Those projects are complicated by a patchwork of local authorities and legal requirements that give regulators headaches. Once the rural network is complete, the government said it would formalize high-speed broadband as a formal right.

A couple of decades later, I expect we’ll get round to doing the same for rural America.