Behind the scenes, he tied these disparate features and systems together, German software supplier Elektrobit. The two companies work together to develop and improve the user experience, including infotainment hardware and software, toolkit, and voice assistant integration.
Kawanishi said Sony was impressed not only with the company’s experience with automated technology software, but also with its ability to use agile development processes.
Moreover, Elektrobit’s expertise in mobile integration — many of the company’s human-machine interface engineers had previously worked at Nokia — made the company stand out when Sony began looking for suppliers in 2018.
“These things were very important to Sony because future mobility has to evolve through software, and they had this unique skill set,” he said.
Collaboration with Sony has allowed Elektrobit to put into practice the benefits of rapid development and demonstration, and a set of philosophies and practices focused on cross-functional collaboration, flexibility, and iterative improvements.
“Everyone is talking about how to master complexity if you are really agile,” said Christian Reinhard, chief technology officer and managing director of Elektrobit. “It really allows you to go to a deeper level. You can do iterations and then look at the result. Then you can say, ‘Okay, what’s the next important thing?’ “Everyone’s trying to do it. With Sony, it’s already in place. That’s the most exciting thing. Maybe a little eccentric, but it’s exciting to me.”
For Elektrobit, an independent subsidiary of Continental, continuing work with Sony allows the company to do more than just deliver its embedded and connected software expertise; It has allowed Elektrobit to develop into a systems integrator.
Cockpit Systems Solutions’ product, for example, is derived from its work with Sony. Other automakers are now working with these products, although the company does not disclose other partners.
“In the past, we used to do smaller cuts,” Reinhard said. “This is completely new for Elektrobit to be in this integration role.”