The obstacle to introducing autonomous cars is not technology but the necessity to resolve legal and ethical dilemmas associated with entrusting the accountability for vehicle control to artificial intelligence – says Witold Leder, CEO of Spyrosoft Solutions in an interview with Albert Warner, a journalist from “Rzeczpospolita”.
We are witnessing a revolution in the automotive industry. How significant is the contribution of a trusted technological partner?
One could say that we are continually contributing to this revolution. We have this opportunity because we work with the largest entities in the global automotive market, namely TIER 1 companies that develop solutions tailored to a finished product with minimal modifications and OEMs, who are the final car manufacturers. For instance, we are currently working on a product intended for use in level 4 autonomous vehicles, where the driver can effectively take a break from driving as the car is fully capable of autonomously monitoring the driving environment. In simple terms, this product is an IT platform that will collect data from sensors in the car, such as lidars, and make appropriate decisions based on this data. Currently, this platform is used in movers, which are autonomous vehicles operating in parking lots worldwide. Movers also assist in transporting people within the business district in Rotterdam. These vehicles run in a confined environment where humans do not cross paths.
What else are you working on as part of the revolution we are discussing?
We are collaborating with Magna Electronics, one of the world’s largest automotive technology suppliers, on a project that will enable the vehicle to “see” the external environment and what is happening inside the car. For drivers, it is already apparent that parking sensors and cameras are needed in a car. We take it a few steps further. We need solutions that will enable the vehicle to interpret what is happening inside it. Moreover, in 2026, a European Union directive will come into effect requiring newly sold vehicles to be equipped with driver monitoring systems. The vehicle needs to know what the driver is doing – whether they are conscious and alive. I know how it sounds, but engineers also have to deal with such challenges. However, software can have flaws. I have more trust in machines than in humans. Even if something doesn’t work, we know why and can improve it. Machines have no emotions, rarely make mistakes, and perform well in a predictable environment.
When do you think we will have autonomous cars on the roads?
Within 5-10 years, but they will still operate within designated infrastructure, as they do now in California. Autonomous vehicles can currently be tested on roads in Germany, but only under the supervision of a “live” driver. The obstacle to introducing autonomous vehicles on the streets is less about technology and more about resolving legal and ethical dilemmas associated with entrusting the responsibility for vehicle control to artificial intelligence. The evolution is happening very dynamically, and as a result, we have more and more work. It is said that what is currently happening in the autonomous vehicle market was supposed to occur in 2-3 years.
Does electrification contribute to the revolution we are discussing?
Electrification is a change in the form of vehicle propulsion that addresses the limitations of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. In my opinion, it is more of a natural evolution than a revolution. The real revolution in the automotive market, comparable to the invention of the Internet, is the Software Defined Vehicle. In essence, it means that software has become a key factor enabling innovation in the automotive industry. This may mean that in the future, software in a car will be more important than the vehicle brand, and new functionalities will be available as a service that can be activated and deactivated at the user’s request. Car manufacturers are already under immense pressure to offer new cars with increasingly sophisticated technology. Therefore, the number of software projects in this industry is growing, creating space for smaller, innovative players in the global IT industry.
Is 2035 a realistic target for entering electromobility?
In my opinion, no, because this revolution has significant limitations. Electromobility is good, but only for short distances. Moreover, there are still debates about whether it is genuinely environmentally friendly. There may soon be an issue with rare elements in batteries, of which China has the largest reserves. It is a dead end. Another power source, such as hydrogen, appeals to me more.
Is it a significant achievement that a small Polish company works for the major players in the automotive industry? How large is Spyrosoft Solutions?
In the entire Spyrosoft Group, over 1,500 people are employed. As for us and Spyrosoft Solutions, we have 380 engineers, and approximately 300 people work on automotive projects. Just a few years ago, it was unthinkable for a company of our size to work with global players in the automotive market. Car manufacturers used solutions from well-known TIER1 brands (BOSCH, Continental). The fact that companies like Spyrosoft Solutions can now work for OEMs results from a significant revolution related to the Software Defined Vehicle, as I mentioned earlier.
In your opinion, what will the automotive industry look like in 10 years?
It will move towards software that controls the vehicle and meets the needs of efficient mobility. The car will cease to be a status symbol. Today, more and more young people do not see the need to own their car. There is also no turning back from ecological solutions.
This is a translation of an interview conducted by Albert Warner from “Rzeczpospolita”. Read the original article here. To learn more about what Spyrosoft offers for the automotive industry, visit our website.