August 13, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

Body of a car, brains of a PC

(continued from previous page)

IBM is deeply involved in this area, as are automakers. A group of Japanese companies, including Honda Motor, Toyota Motor, Nissan and Toshiba, is reportedly planning to forge a car operating-system standard.

IBM, with its Telelogic buy, could also play a pivotal role in setting standards of future car operating systems. General Motors is a Telelogic customer, as are DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, BMW, Volvo and Volkswagen, according to Neeraj Chandra, executive vice president of corporate and product strategy at Telelogic. The company also counts Siemens VDO Automotive, Robert Bosch and Delphi, leading automotive suppliers, as clients.

About 7 percent of Telelogic's revenue--roughly $14.5 million of its estimated $208 million for 2006--came from the automotive industry. But its sales to the automotive industry in 2006 grew 32 percent, according to the company's annual report, more than to aerospace and defense operations combined.

"The product development cycle itself is compressing. It used to be five years. Now it's 24 months, and they are trying to get it down to one year."
--Neeraj Chandra, executive vice president, Telelogic

"IBM has seen that there's an opportunity to help software developers in OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and tier 1s to use common tools to develop software and be more disciplined and structured," said David Alexander, principal analyst for automotive systems at ABI Research. "There is where IBM is thinking they have something to offer."

Automakers seem to agree, at least if GM and Ford are any indication.

"We definitely see that as one of the next frontiers for us as well," said Hans-Georg Frischkorn, executive director of global electrical systems, controls and software at GM. "In fuel economy or safety or telematics, software plays a major role."

Ford, too, sees software as crucial to new car development.

"It's easily one of the leading technological challenges faced in the auto industry because of the breadth of the systems. It is pretty much like a network on wheels these days," Ford's Milligan said.

Both automakers are struggling to compete for market share against successful Asian competitors like Toyota, which has seen record sales in the States and recently surpassed GM as the world's largest automaker, in terms of global sales.

In fact, American automakers may already be falling behind. Japanese carmakers like Toyota and Honda are already ahead of U.S. automakers in terms of the complex driving systems they offer Japanese drivers, according to ABI's Alexander.

"Honda has a more complex vision system than other carmakers that includes identifying pedestrians and other objects, as well as their movement and trajectory....Toyota has had a self-parking Prius for Japanese drivers since 2003," Alexander said.

"They're pushing ahead with new ideas in technology, and maybe the operating systems being developed outside of Japan may not be reacting fast enough. This is my interpretation of why they might decide to announce they are going it alone," Alexander said of the Japanese government's interest in developing its own automotive standards.

Time budgeted for the development of inventions is also decreasing.

"The product development cycle itself is compressing. It used to be five years. Now it's 24 months, and they are trying to get it down to one year. So you have shrinking development time and more complex-software development," Chandra said.

Developing software for particularly innovative new components is part of what a car company now does. But executives at GM and Ford said their companies look to outside help when it comes to developing the tools for writing that innovative software and managing requirements for component manufacturers.

"We're definitely building resources in-house as quickly as we can. While we do that, we are working with third parties, top names in the software industry," GM's Frischkorn said.

Previous page | CONTINUED: "Traffic jam ahead"…
Page 1 | 2 | 3

See more CNET content tagged:
automotive company, automobile company, Ford, IBM Corp., car


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
not quite there yet
the car companies are taking baby steps in the right direction
maybe one day there will be a car like KITT
Posted by KTMCDO (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IBM Big Blue in your car...
Yet C|NET graphics show MS Vista huge MAC OSX "Widgets"...errr...MS " Gadgets" graphics in their lead in...?

90% of article was about IBM with one sentence about Microsoft, yet, Vista gets a free plug from C|NET.

We know who butters your bread C|NET.

MS Vista Tech in your car?
Big Blue screen of death right before you crash!
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Literal Blue Screens of Death?
Wow... This'll certainly give new meanings to "Blue Screen of Death" and your computer "crashing".
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Blue Scree of Death
Ditto: and how about "Fatal Error"?
Posted by spothannah (145 comments )
Link Flag
The IT budget is not associated with the Development budget
This article begins describing the importance of software as it is delivered in the product then, in a detour of logic, it includes a paragraph about the IT budget and 3rd party software. The IT budget is spent on software to operate the company and is not directly associated with product development. The number that should have been included is software development as a percentage of the R&D budget and the R&D budget as a precentage of the operating budget.
Posted by Mgood (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Safety must be the biggest concern
The most pressing problem facing car makers when it comes to adding automation to vehicles is realiability and safety. A single software error might be catastrophic, not only in terms of injuries and lawsuits but in terms of the cost of massive recalls. There is a way to make software programs 100% reliable and that is to use an operating system based on a non-algorithmic, signal-based, synchronous software model. I hope, for their sake and ours, that the auto makers choose that route from the start. Otherwise they're asking for big trouble down the road. Consumers are not going to tolerate unsafe vehicles.
Posted by eightwings (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
In the end, we still have to drive...
All these handy dandy gadgets make driving much more comfortable, and features like collision warnings and such will make it safer but in the end you're still driving the car yourself. Discussions about safety issues should include the responsibility of people as drivers. Look at your computer experiences so far, how watertight has it been? That is how much you can trust software to drive a car for you. As long as I am still familiar with blue screens, and strange occurances, no way I will ever put software to the test that is supposed to drive my car for me. It's nice if it comes to the rescue when I can't help myself, but still no way I will rely on that to happen.....
Posted by Tiskie (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
i need a new computer, if you like gates or interested in Antitrust issues
It's not getting a lot of press quite yet, but Microsoft's latest court battle--a class action civil case in which the software maker is painted as a "corporate bully" that uses illegal tactics to harm competition--is one of the few remaining in the wake of the company's epic US antitrust battle. The Iowa case is expected to be one of the longest-running legal battles in Iowa history.

Filed in 2000, the Iowa case alleges that Microsoft used anticompetitive practices to drive up prices and, ultimately, harm Iowa consumers, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. The plaintiffs collected more than 25 million pages of evidence over the past 6 years. "It's all about the evidence," plaintiff lawyer Roxanne Conlin said in an interview with the "Des Moines Register." "Microsoft did not come into Iowa and slap higher price tags on computers. Microsoft did anticompetitive things to people who were offering choices to consumers, and by doing that, it destroyed competition in this market." Iowa is seeking approximately $330 million in damages in the case.

The court case had ended and this was part of the evidence that the jury had to review.

If you want a journalist distribution set of Gates's unflattering 17-hour videotaped deposition from the US antitrust case please contact me. You can get real lucky ideas and a very unbiased view of the Chairman of Microsoft answering hundreds of questions.

I am poor, but I got a perfect 11 dvd set of Bill Gates answering hundreds of questions in 1998 on a camcorder for his trial.... you'll get real lucky ideas and deep insights into him. I need about a basic machine with at least 3 Ghz and 1GB ram, but if you got something nicer and can be generous that would be awesome as i need this for a project. Please contact me at if you can be helpful. If you can prove you are trustworthy (we can talk on the phone and/or you can email me from a business)..... I will ship to you without you advancing the machine.... but please don't rip me off!!! I need this to work! Please contact me if you have the resources to do this, and I will be happy to further answer any questions.
Posted by OpenSources2 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is that a sneak peek at the next Vette?
Just curious.
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cool Update...
Anyway,let me share some helpful tips on car buying...
Here are some tips on how you can buy and have a quality used car, so as you would not be replacing unnecessary parts along the way...Hope, this might help...
Tips & Warning
? As a final precaution, take the car to a mechanic, who should charge a reasonable fee to check over a used car. The seller should agree to this, but may require that you leave a deposit. If the seller won't let you take the car, offer to meet him or her at a mutually convenient garage.
? If you give the seller a deposit in order to take the car to have it checked, make sure to write out an agreement stating that the deposit will be returned immediately if you decide not to buy the car.
If the vehicle's mileage appears unusually low, have a mechanic determine whether someone has tampered with the odometer. If so, the seller must refund any money you have paid and may be liable for punitive damages under federal and state odometer laws?
This is how I acquire my car; I inspected all its auto parts from exterior and interior aspect down to its <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow">neuspeed springs</a> and other accessories. By doing so, you could be sure of the quality of vehicle you are getting?=)
Posted by angelfast (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IBM driver assistant
its like they expect everyone to have a speed zone and 40k time zone adjusting cruise control programmed to every onboard navigation device....I want one.. if i can also switch it to stanby.
Posted by se.rev (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
the earth world eats more chips
Posted by se.rev (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
&#38;#60;a href=&#38;#34;;#34;&#38;#62;Car Brains&#38;#60;/a&#38;#62; Thanks a lot!
Posted by Alonsx (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.