TOKYO—Honda Motor Co. and IBM have agreed to collaborate on research and development of next-generation computing technologies needed to overcome challenges related to processing capability, power consumption and design complexity for software-defined vehicles (SDVs).

SDVs are vehicles that use software to manage their operations, add functionality, and enable new features. SDVs prioritize software over hardware. In the past, vehicle manufacturers differentiated themselves with mechanical features, such as horsepower and torque. Today, consumers are increasingly looking for features defined by software, such as driver assistance features, infotainment and intelligent connectivity.

The advancement of artificial intelligence technology is expected to accelerate widely in 2030 and beyond, creating new opportunities for the development of SDVs. Honda and IBM anticipate that SDVs will dramatically increase the complexity, processing performance, and power consumption of semiconductors compared with conventional vehicles. The R&D agreement between Honda and IBM hopes to solve these challenges.

In particular, the companies will research specialized semiconductor technologies, such as brain-inspired computing and “chiplets.” Hardware and software co-optimization will be important to ensure high performance and fast time to market. To achieve that, the two companies also plan to explore open and flexible software.