Plus at IAA Mobility: Partnerships Drive Future of Software-Defined Vehicles
Plus’s evolutionary approach to commercializing autonomous vehicles makes driving safer and more sustainable for fleets today
During IAA Mobility, the European automotive conference held in Munich last month, Plus’s VP of Global Business Development Sun-Mi Choi shared insights about the company’s incremental approach to commercializing autonomous vehicles, highlighting the need for collaboration across industry sectors to advance the autonomous vehicle transition.
As a software developer, Plus works with OEMs directly, as well as Tier-1 and technology suppliers to address data management, cyber security, and other complex issues, said Choi.
“Creating a safe, validated, cost-efficient and accelerated industrializing of the technology is a big challenge that only in partnership can we tackle together,” she said.
Plus’s highly automated solutions solve problems today
The logistics industry is undergoing massive disruption in the form of driver shortages, increasingly stringent sustainability regulations, and mounting safety concerns, said Choi, who delivered remarks during an IAA panel discussion as well as a separate stand-alone talk.
Eighty percent of all truck accidents are caused by human error. Trucks comprise only 9 percent of vehicles on the road but account for 30 percent of total transport emissions.
Plus aims to help fleets mitigate these challenges now and not years into the future when the safety case for fully driverless vehicles has been proven. “Fleets need commercial benefits in the short term, and they want autonomy,” said Choi.
The company has already released PlusDrive, a highly automated version of its Level 4 technology for the long-haul trucking industry. The Level 2++ system makes driving safer, more sustainable, and more comfortable for drivers. The system is about 10% more fuel efficient than the average human driver.
Fleet expectations for autonomy are growing rapidly, said Choi, citing a recent survey showing seventy percent of UK fleets would switch OEM brands in favor of a superior autonomy product. Fleets are looking for flexibility, fast adoption, and upgradability of software over the air, she said.
Paving the way for a driverless future
Commercializing highly automated driving today is integral to Plus’s long-term goal of commercializing fully driverless technology. As PlusDrive-equipped trucks travel the highways, they are accumulating miles and edge case data that feeds into the system to help engineers create a fully validated Level 4 safety concept, Choi explained.
On both the Level 2 ++ and Level 4 solutions, Plus is collaborating with customers, suppliers, and other industry stakeholders to refine and advance the technology. Describing the value chain, Choi said Plus provides the software layer with prediction planning level algorithms to enable vehicles to drive safely.
As Plus moves toward series production, the company is working with Tier 1 and other technology suppliers from Bosch to AWS to help integrate the technology at scale while providing additional business-critical capabilities. Simultaneously, the fleet end users provide feedback on system features and services.
Industry transformation requires business, culture and technology alignment
The autonomous vehicle transition provides opportunities across the automotive industry, Choi said. But successful execution will require alignment between established global companies and software developers with very different cultures, philosophies, and development and product release cycles.
“That is where the industry comes together – not just to solve technical issues but also to manage the partnership ecosystem.”