From cars to planes, the future of transportation is already here--and is changing rapidly. Software engineering is increasingly central to both the development and maintenance of all kinds of vehicles. That means more people need to start thinking like systems engineers. Dale Tutt, vice president of aerospace and defense industry for Siemens Software, says this means companies must offer more training and planning for those designing and developing vehicles of the future. "As you try to address the talent gap, there's a lot you can do to help make the tools easier to use. By better integrating the tools and by bringing in technologies like AI to help automate the generation of different design concepts and the analysis of those concepts using simulation tools, you can extend the capabilities of the system so that it helps empower your engineers," says Tutt. "Companies that are the most successful at adopting systems engineering are doing it because systems engineering, and the tools being used are becoming almost like the DNA of their engineering organization. Everyone is starting to think a bit like a systems engineer, even in their normal job. The tools and the ecosystem that you use to do systems engineering has a large role in facilitating adoption." Nand Kochhar, the vice president of automotive and transportation for Siemens Software, says a systems engineering approach can extend more broadly, as engineers think about how cars and vehicles connect to everything else in their environments. "In a smart city, the system has become the city itself. Take a vehicle in the city, for example. The definition of the system has moved from the single vehicle to include the flow of traffic in the city and to how the traffic lights operate. You can extend that expansive ecosystem to other aspects like building management, for example, into the smart city environment," he says.
The next wave of aerospace is just around the corner, and a lot of that innovation is happening thanks to new, faster methods of development. "What's happening now is that companies are trying to understand how they take the lessons from Agile software development and apply those to Agile product development," explains Dale Tutt, vice president of Aerospace and Defense Industry for Siemens. With Agile software development, you can build software and test it relatively quickly. "When you start talking about an airplane or an air taxi," Tutt says, "it's expensive to build a prototype and test them, so you have to think about it in a different way and take a different approach. It really takes good program planning." This new type of product development, where planes and other kinds of air transport are developed faster than ever, still needs to incorporate safety as a top priority, which creates new kinds of challenges. These kinds of products are different than smartphones or other consumer electronics, Tutt explains. "Part of it is driven by the safety and reliability you want to have--so that when you're flying around, you can safely operate the vehicle. There's a certain amount of durability and reliability that's built into the design of the product. The amount of investment that these companies or that an individual would make in buying one of these aircraft means there's an expectation that it's going to last a while, and that you're going to have value in that asset. It's a little bit different than some of the consumer goods that we buy, and it's more expensive to repair them than it is to replace them."
We believe 2018 could represent a distinct tipping point from thinking, talking about, and planning for future mobility to implementing it. It's the year when a firework of electric-vehicle (EV) launches began and charging infrastructure became solid in key regions; when cars enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) began to replace "dumb" ones; when we moved from advanced driver-assistance systems to autonomous vehicles (AVs) in real life; when the automotive and mobility industries shifted from a driver- or owner-focused value proposition to a customer-centered one; and when micromobility started to scale up. You can make the case that all four ACES trends--autonomous driving, connected cars, electrification, and smart mobility--made appreciable advances in 2018, despite some setbacks. It was the year when theoretical discussions about the future of mobility turned into concrete actions across businesses, cities, and key world regions. Please join us in reviewing some of the highlights from this singular year and exploring what the future could bring.