Strategic Collaborations Enabling The Future of Automotive

Partnerships aim to integrate AI capabilities into vehicles, but cybersecurity remains key.


I just returned from CES last month, the world’s most influential tech and innovation event. With over 135K attendees from across the world, 4300 exhibitors, 250+ conference sessions, and 1000 speakers, CES 2024 was the place to explore emerging trends and disruptive innovations.

As CES is the showcase for innovative technologies, it is no surprise that Artificial Intelligence (AI) had a strong focus. This was certainly true for the automotive market. CES 2024 clearly demonstrated itself to be an important show for the automotive industry, showcasing the latest trends and groundbreaking advancements enabled by AI technologies as the new differentiator.

CES 2024 also witnessed several strategic partnerships between OEMs and AI technology industry players. These partnerships aim to integrate AI capabilities into vehicles, enhancing vehicle voice assistant, visuals, and graphics.

Some of the OEM strategies and plans revealed at CES 2024 included:

  • Volkswagen has taken a groundbreaking step in the automotive industry by partnering with Cerence to integrate ChatGPT into its IDA (Intelligent Driver Assistance) voice assistant system. This move makes Volkswagen the first volume manufacturer to offer ChatGPT as a standard feature in many production vehicles. The automotive-grade integration enables the IDA voice assistant to extend its control beyond infotainment, navigation, and air conditioning. With these additional capabilities, the voice assistant system can now provide vehicle-specific information, answer general knowledge questions, and interact in hands-free, intuitive language. The integration enriches conversations and enhances the overall driving experience as the technology excels at handling follow-up questions and maintaining contextual understanding.
  • Following a similar strategy, BMW has also taken the initiative in leaping forward to enhance the driving experience by collaborating with Amazon and leveraging the Amazon Alexa Large Language Model (LLM) technology in the next-generation BMW intelligence personal assistant for faster and more seamless, intuitive, human-like interaction and conversations.
  • Mercedes-Benz is another pioneer that is taking customer service to the next level by integrating Microsoft Azure OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology into the MBUX Virtual Assistant. This generative AI brings a new level of natural and empathetic interaction, making the customer’s experience more convenient than ever. Proactive support and assistance are just a few of the benefits that come with this intuitive technology. “The Mercedes-Benz user experience of tomorrow will be hyper-personalized. With generative AI, our MBUX Virtual Assistant brings more trust and empathy to the relationship between car and driver. Thanks to our MB.OS chip-to-cloud architecture, our future vehicles will provide customers with exactly what they need when they need it,” commented Magnus Östberg, Chief Software Officer, Mercedes-Benz AG.
  • Sony Honda Mobility (SHM) presented their latest AFEELA electric car prototype, with immersive augmented reality experience and entertainment capabilities enabled by partner Epic Games, and with enhanced emotional experience enabled by the Microsoft Azure OpenAI service for conversational personal mobility agent.

The automotive industry is clearly at the forefront of a revolutionary journey towards a customer-centric driving experience based on AI technologies and strategic partnerships. But with this evolution comes increased complexity within the vehicle and automotive ecosystem. The next-generation vehicle is expected to be highly connected and software-driven, with AI-based features and models running on highly complex heterogeneous System on Chip (SoC) devices.

While the automotive industry is leveraging AI technologies and redefining the customer-mobility relationship, it’s crucial for OEMs to collaborate with partners that ensure security remains a top priority in the automobile. As complexity is the enemy of security, and as any chain is only as strong as the weakest link, cybersecurity and risk management is becoming the new measure of quality for the automotive industry. Exploiting vulnerabilities in a vehicle’s systems can have far-reaching consequences, going beyond the vehicle to other critical sectors through Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) connectivity.

In addition to AI-integration into future vehicles that redefines the emotional experience, OEMs are also redefining their role in the value chain from simple car integrators to being more involved in future vehicles’ software and hardware development; the so-called “verticalization” strategy. In this emerging role, OEMs are building in-house hardware design capabilities for SoCs that handle the local AI workload or are moving deeper into the value chain, collaborating directly with semiconductor chip suppliers. In both cases, secure silicon IPs and secure full-stack hardware and software are non-negotiable to implement the foundation for the safe and secure use of AI-based applications.

Rambus understands the differentiated added value of AI technologies and the market benefits of collaborating with key players. Rambus also understands the criticality of secure end-to-end solutions for a successful strategic partnership journey and automotive evolution overall. With this in mind, Rambus has announced with industry leader ETAS plans to advance the co-development and integration of automotive cybersecurity solutions. The joint solutions will implement foundational root-of-trust capabilities and offer security services dedicated to the automotive use cases for safer and more secure mobility.

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