Danger: Your IP is at Risk During Vehicle Development

Engineering teams developing vehicles for production are juggling multiple priorities at once. They’re designing and testing to meet rigorous safety standards and solving complex engineering problems all while trying to bring their vehicle to market quickly. It would be devastating to see that hard work compromised by leaked IP or slowed down by IP that is ultimately controlled by someone else. Modern control development projects are reshaping the way we protect intellectual property and engineers are looking for ways to take better control of their projects. Here’s a look at three situations when your IP can be compromised and how to protect it.

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1. When You Share IP During The RFQ

For many companies, it’s pretty common at the beginning of a project to get bids from three or more suppliers as part of the Request for Quote (RFQ) process. If you’re developing a complex vehicle system, for example, it may be necessary to share details on application functionality requirements so that your supplier can provide an accurate quote on a turn-key solution. You may also have to provide the suppliers with specific details about your solution, including how you are solving the problem for your customer.

Here are the questions that should keep you up at night:

  • What happens to the IP shared with any suppliers I didn’t choose?
  • What will they do with the information we provided?
  • Will they use our IP to try to win business from my competitors?

2. When You Outsource IP Creation

Sometimes it’s necessary to take your existing system and tweak a small aspect – just to see how the change might improve things. That might create the need to outsource IP creation to a third party. This can then involve nontrivial cost and time if you have to go through requirements, documentation, RFQ, quoting, and scheduling efforts with the third party.

This also means you’ve lost control.

Future innovation will be limited and you’ll lose the agility needed for rapid innovation (same-day changes) –a competitive edge that you cannot afford to give up.

That should make you wonder:

  • How long will it take to get our changes made?
  • What will this cost us?
  • How can we take this back in-house?
  • What will this supplier do with the IP they created?

3. When Your Supplier Owns Or Holds Your IP

Software content such as control algorithms makes up an increasing portion of the value of a vehicle or system. This trend will continue to accelerate as vehicles become more automated. In fact, according to a recent report by McKinsey, the average share of value represented by the software in a modern car is expected to reach 30% by 2030.

As we have seen with high-profile hacks, security vulnerabilities, once exposed, can cause tremendous amounts of negative publicity, economic loss, and potentially physical harm. Allowing implementation details and security credentials to be outside of your control exposes you to major risks.

If part of the new frontier of vehicle design is IP protection of critical software, what happens when that IP, which you rely on, is held by a third party?

Do you want to put that value at risk of falling into your competitors’ hands?

Perhaps the most limiting of all is when a turn-key supplier owns your application IP and your hardware business. This can limit your choices of hardware suppliers, which can cost you more and limit your control of supply chain issues. You’ll also lose control of your schedule as they may have different priorities or resource constraints. Finally, they can require significant money for each change you request — limiting your ability to serve your markets in a timely manner.

The bottom line: Waiting on a supplier to implement changes means you can’t effectively innovate and will get left behind by competitors who can.

We Can Help You Protect Your IP

Your business moves at its own pace and has its own priorities. Relinquishing control of your IP and software build process to a supplier means that you may have to move at their pace and your priorities may not match up with theirs. The time and cost to make even small changes to your control system software can become a major limiting factor when third parties are involved – especially if it is not a priority for them.

By using Embedded Model-Based Design with Raptor / Simulink, you’ll be in control of the software model which produces the executable application. You ‘ll also be in control of the ‘build button’ – meaning you can create a new executable application any time you need to make a software tweak. This means you hold the IP and don’t need to call a supplier and start a new project each time you have a change to make or a new model year.

The Raptor toolchain provides end-to-end control of your project because it allows you to keep your IP in-house, which means you can sleep better at night and make changes on the fly.

If you’re ready to take control of your machine and your IP get in touch with us to learn more about Raptor.

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