Volkswagen Group's software division, Cariad, has emerged from a review ordered by its new CEO with a plan to work toward a unified software architecture for future vehicles one jump at a time, according to Cariad chief Dirk Hilgenberg.
"I call our program 'triple jump'," Hilgenberg told Reuters at the CES technology trade show in Las Vegas. "You do one jump after another."
The next key step will be the launch of the new-generation Porsche Macan SUV in 2024, which will have VW Group's new premium software architecture.
The automaker's ultimate goal is a "unified" software and electronics architecture for all VW group vehicles. It will rely on Qualcomm "system on a chip" semiconductors in Europe and North America, and in China will use super-chips developed with Chinese partner Horizon Robotics.
"We are not allowed to pull data out of China," Hilgenberg said.
VW has promised investors an update on software progress in March.
Delays and cost overruns at Cariad were one of the factors behind the VW supervisory board’s decision last summer to oust Herbert Diess as CEO and replace him with Porsche chief Oliver Blume.
Sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters a new software platform intended to enable "Level 4" autonomous driving, which was due to be implemented across the fleet from 2026, will be pushed back to the end of the decade. One source said a 2028 start was likely.
Hilgenberg declined to discuss specific dates. "Let's deliver product," he said.
He illustrated Cariad's challenge using a slide showing three diagrams representing a vehicle's electronics.
VW's old approach used 120 small computers controlling separate functions.