At this year's CES, Luxoft, a global IT service provider, together with LG Electronics, Amazon, HERE and The Qt Company unveiled an autonomous mobility concept. Continuing just-auto/QUBE's series of interviews at CES, we spoke to Mikael Söderberg, Senior Technical Director, Automotive at Luxoft to learn more.
Could you tell us the headline message that you would like to put out here at the CES?
We are collaborating with LG Electronics to showcase a new automotive concept car for autonomous and shared vehicles. Our concept car is built on Rinspeed's microSNAP and combines state of the art tech from LG, Alexa, HERE and QT into a single vehicle for the first time, which you can sit in and experience for yourself at the show.
Our partnerships with LG, Amazon, Qt and HERE: bringing Alexa from home into the car, creating an attractive and intuitive interface, and providing exceptional navigation possibilities through HERE Navigation on Demand.
There are others out there pushing back the technical boundaries of the personalised passenger space and experience. In what ways is your latest solution any different?
Our solution is born out of multiple partnerships rather than a single entity, to create a stunning, end-to-end user experience by leveraging the strengths of each.
webOS Auto allows passengers to access their preferred entertainment options all in one place. Also, these partnerships are formed with trusted companies, like Amazon's Alexa and LG. Of course, Alexa is a popular, tried-and-true service and LG's proven smart TV technology is already used in 60 million smart TVs nationwide. But by using technology people are already familiar with, we will ease the transition and makes the experience intuitive. It becomes as easy as using your mobile phone.
While giving instructions in our cars is nothing new, putting questions to the likes of Alexa and Cortana while on the road is. Is this the way things are going … having more conversations with our cars?
Having a voice service that "knows you from home" connects the car to the home, making it feel more like an extra living room rather than just a means of transportation.
The voice services available in our Autonomous Mobility Concept are a result of the end-user's demands for a more connected, personal, digital experience. Having a voice service that "knows you from home" connects the car to the home, making it feel more like an extra living room rather than just a means of transportation. Voice is definitely part of the trends we are seeing – just look at smart homes, for instance – and we are sure to see more interactive interfaces: from voice, to touch, to augmented reality.
We are accelerating the deployment of Alexa into vehicles by making its traditional applications ready for level 2 – 5 autonomous vehicles. So customers can use Alexa for more than enabling drivers to play music, get directions and place calls – instead use it to remotely start your driverless vehicle, unlock its doors and check the fuel level.
We understand that you are partnering with LG Electronics. Could you tell us a little more about that?
We are creating the next-generation webOS as part of a strategy to extend its capabilities into the automotive and beyond. Luxoft is leading the deployment of webOS Auto into level 2–5 autonomous vehicles. We are initially focusing on digital cockpit development.
webOS Auto allows passengers to access their preferred entertainment options in one place, transporting your living room to the car. This enables automakers to make the riding experience more natural and intuitive while providing a personalised customer experience that connects customers with their automotive brand.
We will help automakers and their suppliers to leverage features enabled through webOS Auto to accelerate the deployment of converged auto systems; these include ADAS, 5G connectivity and in-vehicle entertainment systems. As we are experiencing the mobility revolution, we believe webOS Auto is an open, highly scalable and ideal platform for connected mobility.
How long before we see your innovations showcased here at CES in a mass-produced vehicle?
Our solutions are ready whenever you are. Any one of our demos can be customised and rolled out into mass-produced vehicles. OEMs just need to be informed of what benefits our innovations are capable of.
Given the pace of change inside the car with all of your announcements, where does in-vehicle commerce stand? What are the new opportunities that the Rinspeed microSNAP offers?
The microSNAP offers services like Netflix that, in return, open up new opportunities for new partnerships. This way, companies get exposure and OEMs provide excellent user experiences that are attributed to your brand. Also, entertainment is really important when it comes to modern cars, and delivering entertainment for the daily commute or a road trip is really appealing to the modern buyer.
Looking around the CES this week, it seems like almost everything is now connected to everything else including the cars. What is your vision of the connected car?
Soon, everything will be connected for seamless, easy, stress-free interactions, such as linking your phone's calendar or music to your vehicle.
Soon, everything will be connected for seamless, easy, stress-free interactions, such as linking your phone's calendar or music to your vehicle. That's what the end-user wants. Similar to what I said earlier, this opens up partnership opportunities, since the car becomes much more than just a way from getting to point A from point B. The car is a device, albeit a very complex one.