February 5, 2023

Software was a big topic for automakers attending CES 2023 in January. BMW, Stellantis, Volkswagen and a joint venture between Honda and Sony showcased upcoming or concept vehicles that rely heavily on computers and code. The realization was clear: more and more vehicles are controlled from top to bottom by software, not by hardware. In some cases, the future is already here.

What will it be like for buyers when vehicles are dominated by bits and bytes instead of gears and gaskets? Edmunds experts break down what’s in stock.

SOFTWARE-DEFINED VEHICLES

The phrase “software-defined vehicle” is an industry term used to describe the difference between a traditional car enhanced by technology and one powered by technology.

While cars of the last 20 years have received touchscreens and have plenty of engine and safety-related processing power, these software functions are largely time-bound once the car rolls off the assembly line. The future looks like almost every vehicle function will be controlled by software, which offers the potential to improve functions over time.

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