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your own, both on hardware and software sides to mimic the smartphone functionality. This approach will fail. There are 1 billion smartphones being sold per year and so, of course, it is absolutely impossible to compete. HW: Maybe the question is about how you differentiate yourself in the infotainment and connectivity markets? WZ: Our approach is very simple. We ensure the functionality that we think is necessary is present in the smartphone and then use the head-up HMI unit in the car. This approach has several advantages, the first being that you are always up-to-date with your hardware because your hardware is always the smartphone. Second, you can then focus on creating applications that are bespoke to automotive rather than creating a total software stack in the car. This is an approach that I think JLR is leading. In all our cars you can now order what we call the ‘InControl’ apps platform. It’s a very easy job to modify existing applications to fit into that environment. HW: how does this apply beyond the world of infotainment? WZ: If there is a company that is good at sign-recognition systems, or fusing radar with video technology, stability control or navigation or any other application, then of course the manufacturer wants to have separate conversations with these people. They are best in these fields and we want to use the skills of each one rather than being tied to one supplier. But integration is key. It is also important to understand that the electronic system in a car is one entity and not an assembly of subsystems. That is one of the big challenges that the automotive industry faces today. HW: JLR is part of Tata. Is there any connection in terms of developing electronics? WZ: The cars are completely different. I don’t think that “The smartphone and automotive industries have collided.” there is even a washer that is in common. We act completely independently and we can do what is right for the products that we are making. If we are talking about synergies, where we can contribute is simply to support Tata. There is a very friendly relationship, but everyone is completely aware that our markets have nothing in common. HW: Let’s talk about the powertrain. Is the effort of creating a hybrid car overkill in terms of the outcome? WZ: I don’t think there is a ‘hybrid car’. There are several stages of hybrids and you can classify them according to the ratio of combustion engine power to electric motor power. On the lower end you have the micro-hybrid, which is basically a modified starter-alternator. Then you have hybrid electric vehicles and the purpose of those is mainly brake-energy recuperation. Then you have the plug-in hybrids that can move through the driving-cycle in pure electric mode. Of course, this has a cost indication, but it is also the main route for larger cars such as Range Rovers to cope with CO2 legislation. This approach makes some sense because the average mileage driven per day by the normal driver is 20 miles. And so if you have a driving range of say 40 miles then the car is in most cases driven in pure electric mode all the time. Then for the cases when we have to drive longer distances, you have the backup of the combustion engine. But the electric car will not replace the combustion engine in totality. If somebody needs a car for all purposes, then the only option is an efficient combustion engine or maybe a plug-in hybrid. Having said that, there are a lot of market niches where the all-electric car makes sense, such as urban transportation. HW: What is your biggest insight at the moment in the world of automotive? WZ: Connectivity is the area that is gaining momentum. The car is no longer a standalone unit, but is connected to the infrastructure. This is a very fast moving area. We are always talking about the Internet of Things – but in the IoT the car is the biggest thing. It’s a moving sensor. Nothing is bigger or more important or has more potential than the car. We are in a situation where we are going to enhance everything for the driver. There will be applications upon applications integrated into the internet. HW: Do you think that one of the biggest challenges is to be able to see into the future with accuracy… WZ: If you work in the automotive industry you must live five years in the future. The key is to bring together a vision of how the world might look like five years out, what the customer might want then, and combine this with the expertise of knowing what can be done. QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS What are your hobbies? I have a pilot’s license and so I fly when time allows. I’m a passionate skier and I love to sail. It’s not just a business life. What’s your latest non-business book? Actually, I read books about technology and the future. If you could hold a similar position in a non-technology company, what would you do? You reach an age where you have to ask what is fun. To me technology is fun. If you were put in jail, who would you share the cell with? I would wish to share it with my wife, but I don’t want my wife ever to go to prison. Do you own any classic cars? I am considering buying a Jaguar XK120 coupe, predecessor of the E-Type. What music do you enjoy? Jazz. Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis. If there was one extra day in the week, what would you do with it? I’d have a day off! www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe April 2015 11


EETE APR 2015
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