Possibly the greatest benefit to launching a revolutionary car company in the heart of Silicon Valley is the immediate access to some of the most innovative, cutting-edge software engineers in the world.
From its conception in 2003 Tesla has in the past 12 years grown from a sustainable transport start-up to a leading motoring technology and design firm focused on energy innovation.
Much of Tesla’s success, analysts would argue, has been down to their clever market strategy rather than differentiated technology. However despite the credibility of this suggestion critics can’t deny the how successful Tesla has been in harnessing the power of software to create cars that are as apparently perceptive, intuitive and pioneering as their own.
The advanced software, or firmware, found in their electric vehicles employ many processors to control functions the driver often takes for granted. These range from battery voltage management and motor control to diagnostics, door locks and touchscreen interaction. An array of operating systems and programming languages optimise each processor for completing its designated function. The processors work together to monitor the status of components throughout the car, share information to coordinate action, and react to changing external conditions. Functionality like this is so complex it’s almost human, or perhaps superhuman.
Incredible firmware such as this is a demonstration of what the future might hold for the automotive industry, and for vehicles of the future. Tesla’s ability to diagnose a car’s operations remotely now means that if an owner feels something has gone wrong with their car, remote diagnosis enables the “Tesla Rangers” or repair technicians to determine the issue and a solution without direct access to the car.
For customers who opt-in, on-board systems allow the car to “talk” to a central headquarters providing customers with a remote firmware team capable of diagnosing issues by accessing information transmitted online to Tesla. Rangers are then able to alert an owner of a pending problem and constantly innovate firmware, identifying and overcoming challenges.
Thanks to over air software updates Tesla customers can look forward to continued and cutting-edge firmware that means vehicles such as the model S become better, smarter and faster over time. In one update alone in March 2015 Tesla added automatic emergency braking, which will engage in the event of an unavoidable collision, as well as a side-collision warning (the Model S already has front and rear collision warnings). Putting the rest of the automotive industry to shame, Tesla are well positioned to continue driving forward the transition and development of technology/motoring integration.
In 2013 Google nearly bought Tesla for a cool $6bn dollars at a time when the forward thinking electric car company was nearing bankruptcy. At the last minute CEO Elon Musk pulled out of the deal his mate Larry Page, CEO of Google due to a sudden rise in sales figures. We think Musk made the right decision.
You may have already heard of how Formula 1 use Big Data to optimise the performance of their race cars, but for a specific look at how British F1 motor companies are using these analytics to their advantage learn more here: British Motoring Gaining Competitive Edge thanks to Big Data
Images courtesy of: teslamotors.com