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Time for other things when cars drive themselves

As cars take over increasingly more tasks, drivers have time for other things. This is why the digital driver environment is the automotive industry's next big thing. And it's a business that's growing rapidly in Gothenburg.

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The feel and experience of a car have always been important to buyers. And now they're increasing in importance. When a car can drive, change gear, steer and park on its own, its occupants can concentrate on other things.

This also means that the automotive industry's business model is changing. The car brand that can make the time spent in your car more meaningful will win over customers.

"There are calculations showing that we'd gain the same amount of time that the Egyptians needed to build the pyramids – every day – if all vehicles on the roads today were replaced with autonomous ones. This will require entirely new solutions for user interfaces and services in vehicles," says Alwin Bakkenes, CEO of Gothenburg-based company Pelagicore.

"User interfaces will transition from traditional driver-centric solutions to more holistic experiences that enable us to be productive and bring along our personal digital lifestyle functions and tools." 

Pelagicore works with the creation of practical in-car user experiences. A year ago, Pelagicore was acquired by Russian consulting conglomerate Luxoft, which has over 13,000 employees worldwide and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Consequently, since May Alwin has been head of the company's automotive division with 2,100 employees. Pelagicore is now the company's Gothenburg branch, working in their Digital Cockpit business area developing platforms for all the technology found in the passenger compartment of a car.

The Gothenburg team currently has 50 employees, although the hope is that the newly opened office on Östra Hamngatan will soon double its numbers — there's namely huge demand for their expertise.

Alwin Bakkenes

"Over the past century auto manufacturers have built up an incredible amount of knowledge about developing and building vehicles and creating effective logistics chains," says Alwin. "However, transitioning a large part of these operations to software development is difficult. We aim to support the automotive industry with a modern approach to software development."

Luxoft is also working hard to create platforms and software for self-driving cars. Alwin's vision is to eventually influence the entire automotive industry to transition towards sustainable mobility solutions. He believes that the most likely future scenario is that instead of owning cars we'll use them as a service. 

"We believe that the world would be better off if the automotive industry could offer sustainable mobility solutions. We're doing everything we can to enable such a development. It's the very essence of what we do." 

To promote development towards a more sustainable vehicle fleet, Pelagicore has always made its product solutions open source, and will continue to do so even under the Luxoft brand. This means that anyone who wants to utilise the software code in their own products not only can but is also encouraged to.

"We believe that if you consider the bigger picture, society benefits most from open solutions. We want to encourage the industry and encourage standardisation, and it's great to see that in this way we can influence and help create a more sustainable automotive industry," says Alwin.

"I don't believe in the traditional method of binding customers to different contracts, where they can only work with us. It works in the short term, but it's not the way to create long-term customer relationships. We don't want a quick fix, quick win – we want to help create a more sustainable automotive industry."


Facts: Luxoft

Does: Creates software and software platforms for the automotive industry. The Gothenburg office works in the Digital Cockpit business area, which involves developing all the technology found in the driver environment.

Owner: Listed on Nasdaq.

Employees: About 50 in Gothenburg at the moment. Luxoft has 2,100 people working in the automotive sector.

Turnover: USD 785.6 million for the last financial year.


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