And So We Drive
In mechanical engineering, I would call us a platform champion," Senger [Christian Senger, who is responsible for VW Group's Digital Car and Services division] said, referring to VW Group's strength in using a small number of common architectures—MQB for transverse-engined vehicles, MLB Evo for premium models, and now MEB for smaller electric vehicles—across multiple brands. "We defined how global industrialization of brands and markets really works. In software, there is no reason for having eight different architectures," he said, contrasting VW Group's current situation with the Android OS, where the same software runs on $60 smartphones as well as $1,000 smartphones.
Consequently, VW Group is now going to take a similar approach to software, consolidating it all under one new internal group, similar to the way that financial services or the ride-hailing Moia exist alongside individual vehicle brands.
This makes sense. It’s ridiculous the extent to which drivers and the media hold automotive software to a lower standard than they hold the software on every other device in our lives. If my Macbook crashed as frequently as the infotainment system on my McLaren, I’d literally be unable to do my job.
Another interesting and unsurprising tidbit:
There are some brands really using Google's automotive services; this is not our strategy. When you do this, you get a great package of function and services, no doubt. But you also have to open up all the car's sensor data [to Google], and when I say all, it really is all sensor data," Senger told me.