The average new car is safer, smarter, and faster than ever, but all of these features rely on a complicated network of on-board computers that are energy-intensive and difficult for developers to work with. Siemens-developed the RACE Concept takes all of those separate processors and centralizes them to allow developers the same access smartphone apps have, and the concept is coming to the real world thanks to a partnership with StreetScooter, reports Green Car Congress.
The purpose of the RACE Concept, which stands for Robust and Reliant Automotive Computing Environment for Future eCars, is to develop a uniform computer code and processing system through which all the car’s functions pass through. Cars currently rely on separate hardware and software programs in order to control the various functions of new cars, from airbags and air conditioning to when to open and close active grille shutters to improve fuel economy.
This makes hacking these systems difficult, discouraging the development of new uses for on-board features the way apps use the different features of smartphone operating systems in different ways. For example, my running app RunKeeper uses a GPS to track my mileage and the clock to keep track of my time, as well as linking my social networking sites so I can share my running accomplishments (like the time I got lost and ended up running 12 miles instead of 7 like I planned).
With the RACE concept, Siemens wants to develop a single code that will allow developers access to a car’s various systems, like navigation, barometer, and they’re ready to put it to the test through a partnership with another German company, StreetScooter. At least one of these urban delivery EVs will be equipped with the RACE system as a sort of proof-of-concept, and Siemens will give StreetScooter developers the code so they can develop new functions. One such system could allow for real-time tracking using GPS, or automatically dialing a customer once the driver gets within a certain radius to the destination.
The app revolution could really hit its stride if developers can start cracking open car systems and taking advantage of the various on-board systems. The possibilities are endless, from predicting traffic congestion to taking barometric readings for more accurate weather forecasting.