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Monday, June 27, 2022

VW Scandal Or Not – Software Is Taking Over Your Car

Which startups are developing new technology for an old industry?

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This guest post is written by Nicholas Vandrey from Funderbeam, An Estonian provider of startup data-intelligence services. Photo: Nabeel Syed / Unsplashed

Volkswagen’s stock, along with its reputation, took a nosedive after it was revealed they manipulated test results concerning diesel emissions in their vehicles. For some genuinely fresh air, let’s check out some fantastic startups bent on leaving a mark on the auto industry.

While the media covers the VW spectacle, we got a torch and went out searching for promising startups that are developing new technology for an old industry. Home is where the database is, so we filtered out the appropriate startups using tags and tag clusters. First, we selected only those company who fell under the ‘automotive’ tag cluster:

We then refined the search by extracting those companies with a tag relating to computers and technology:

The result is a comprehensive list of companies in the automotive industry involved in synergizing cars and computers. Granted, some companies slip through the filters and some manual work still has to be done, but we wouldn’t want to make it too easy, would we? After manual filtering, we ended up with over 70 automotive software/technology companies.

What we found is pretty amazing. Long gone are the days where an FM/AM radio was a luxury. These days, when Bluetooth connections have replaced CD players so you can stream your Spotify playlist on your four-wheel stereo, cars as connected to the outside world as we are. They are no longer pods of isolation for commuting to work and back.

Companies likes CloudCar (not to be confused with Cloud Your Car) and Cloud Your Car (not to be confused with CloudCar) bring technological integration to cars for consumers and small-business owners, respectively. CloudCar connects your vehicle to your smartphone, the pair then monitors your behavior and learns to display content relative to what you’re doing. Cloud Your Car offers a device for fleet managers to track and analyze their drivers’ behavior in real time, providing instant feedback to drivers.

Some companies are looking to remove humans from the equation entirely. Auro Robotics helps companies and communities cut drivers’ fees for shuttles by — you guessed it — eliminating the drivers. Artificial intelligence is making its way to the automotive industry. Google and Tesla are racing to develop and widely distribute the world’s first self-driving car. (And with Apple apparently rolling out a vehicle in 2019-ish, Siri will surely take you places someday.)

A lesser-known player in this field is AdasWorks, a Hungarian outfit based in Germany. They’re making significant headway developing the world’s ‘first autonomous car driven by a single embedded processor.’

Understandably, security is a big concern, and there have already been documented (albeit supervised) instances of hackers gaining access and taking over control of cars endowed with wireless technology. This is potentially life-threatening and you could get more than a Trojan horse if you’re not responsible.

Fortunately, security companies have identified the risks of connected automobiles. Arilou Technologies develops a security system to protect cars from external cyber attacks, highlighting the need for a balance between security and convenience.

In that not-too-distance future, your car can be surfing the web for you while driving you to work. While making sure that no one meddles with your brakes over the interwebs. Texting and driving will be safe and you can grab a few beers once your shift is over. Or you could find yourself in an iRobot like car chase in a tunnel. Soon enough, your car will do everything for you and you can sit there without lifting a finger.

Or you could buy a bike. Preferrably an old steel beaut that does the job without a line of code in sight.

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