man driving technology car wheels

With the growing demand for exceptional in-car experience, carmakers now face a pressing need to deliver bespoke IVI innovations. While technology such as AI and AR/VR presents boundless possibilities for elevating driver experiences, talent shortage remains a critical challenge. Long-term human resource development is essential, but what quick-win solutions can carmakers adopt in the short term?

IVI and the future of cars

Demand for a bespoke driver experience has been rising steadily, so much so that advanced features have become a critical deciding factor for choosing car brands. Indeed, in a survey by Deloitte, advanced features are ranked by Japanese drivers as the most important factor for choosing car brands for their next purchase. The factor also makes the top list in other major markets, ranked second in the US, South East Asia, and India, and third in South Korea and China [1]

Without a doubt, the global automotive software market is expected to grow exponentially to double its value within a timespan of only five years, from nearly US$17 billion in 2020 to US$37 billion in 2025. Contributing to the industry’s expansion, IVI market value is also predicted to experience a similar pattern, doubling its size to US$4.4 billion by 2025 [2]. Being the 5th largest car-producing country in the world [3], South Korea has undoubtedly seen similar growth in its IVI market, which is also predicted to expand twice its current size to reach U$205 million by 2025 [2]. 

Reshaping in-car experience with AI and AR/VR

With AI applications becoming mainstream, customers increasingly expect personalization in every service they experience, and that includes transportation. According to a 2022 survey by Capgemini Research Institute, a whopping 73% of car users expect a built-in AI-powered in-vehicle voice assistant [6]. Although such a demand has fueled intense global competition, it has also brought forward unprecedented collaboration among different industries. For instance, LG Uplus, a South Korean-based mobile network operator, announced its plan to equip the Japanese carmaker – Toyota with its home-grown infotainment system, U+ Drive. Aiming to heighten driver experience, the U+ Drive system is powered by AI for seamless control of features with voice commands. The system also links with LG Uplus’s smart home platform, allowing its users to remotely control home appliances on the go [7]

AI applications not only stop at personalizing experiences, but the technology can also improve one of the most important elements on-road: safety. With drowsy driving accounting for 33.3% of fatal accidents in South Korea between 2006 and 2012 [4], alerting driver distractions and drowsiness has become critical. This is where AI comes in handy by collecting and analyzing drivers’ facial expressions to identify potential drowsiness signals and alert accordingly. Such an AI application has been statistically studied and proven to be highly accurate. For instance, a study by Inkeaw et al. utilized the artificial neural networks model to analyze participants’ multiple facial variables, including the eye aspect ratio, mouth aspect ratio, face length, and face width balance. The participants also provide electroencephalogram signals (a recording of the human brain’s activity) as the baseline for comparing the performance of facial analysis. The study shows a promising result as the analysis of the eye aspect ratio, mouth aspect ratio, and face length successfully predicts driver drowsiness with a significant accuracy rate of 60,76% [5].

The in-car infotainment system has undergone several evolvements, from a humble push-button AM radio to an advanced system with an Internet connection. But the introduction of AR/VR technology has opened up a new era for infotainment systems where visual display is presented like never before. One prominent use case is the head-up display (HUD), where vehicle information is projected onto the windshield for eye-level display, allowing drivers to maintain their head position instead of looking down at the usual lower instruments. With increasing popularity, AR-powered HUDs are attracting heightened interest from global carmakers. For instance, Hyundai Mobis, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, has made significant investments in Envisics, a UK-based leading provider of Augmented Reality Head-Up Display, aiming to roll out mass production of such a feature by 2025 [8].

Promising future asides, the global automotive industry in general and South Korea’s in particular are facing a talent shortage challenge that critically hinders the industry’s growth. Indeed, a report by the Korean Employment Information Service indicates that vocational training is required for over 22,000 workers to ensure South Korea's smooth transition to future-car transformation [9]. Utilizing partners, hence, emerges as a quick-win solution for automakers to navigate such a challenge. 

FPT Software – Your partner for the Software-Defined Vehicles 

With more than 15 years of experience in the IVI market, FPT Software has become a trusted partner of more than 30 domestic and global OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers, delivering 150+ bespoke AVN, Digital clusters & HUD, and Telematics products. With a vast pool of highly-skilled workforce, including 1000+ experienced engineers capable of working with diverse platforms and tools such as QT, Android, CGI, and Kanzi, the company has helped global automotive companies accelerate IVI innovations to world-class standards, complying with top-notch certifications such as Automotive A-Spice and CMMI level 5. 

One of FPT Software’s prominent projects involves developing a full-stack Android automotive solution for a South Korean company. Facing limited resources in talent and industry know-how, the client sought a partner that could manage all software from the VHAL layer up, including the applications and Android framework layers. The partner was also required to manage the complete Software Architect design and software integration test, as well as build infrastructure for a significant AOSP source. Through the collaboration, FPT Software managed to provide a full development life-cycle, from system analysis and architectural design to coding and testing, utilizing new technologies and programming languages such as Flutter, Cross Platform, and Unity. FPT Software also successfully improved source code management to avoid conflicts and supported automatic source code synchronization by proposing and restructuring the source code on the client's GitLab. 

Author Trang Nguyen Vu Quynh