Are you a car company? You make cars?

No, actually. We’re a software company for cars. We have a completely different approach than the established auto industry: we separate the software from the hardware and we use a modern programming language called Rust to allow carmakers to program their vehicles at any time - during development, prototyping, or even while they’re already in customer hands. We make them tick and give this magic power to our customers who can then keep their vehicles up to date through software.

Rust? I know Python and C++. Why go through the effort of using a less widely used language like Rust?

Well, there are two methods of how to build a safe product. The one that’s been used so far involves writing code and making sure it’s thoroughly tested until you feel sure it’s working right. The other way, until recently quite academic and philosophical, is to make the humans who write the code less likely to produce errors. We believe Rust is the best language known today, with such a deep understanding of what it’s doing that it results in much cleaner and hence more maintainable code, and finally in statistically less bugs. It’s great for a reason: our brain is less overwhelmed with easier-to-understand constructs. Rust has some nice safety and security properties, and it’s also really fast. This actually also gives us a commercial advantage: after investing a lot of time and money in the basics, we can now develop our operating system for vehicles, created in Rust, much faster than any competition - all because of this solid foundation which remains extensible even if complexity increases.

You say that you’ll be able to make a car do all kinds of things using your software. What’s to stop me or anyone from making like it’s GTA and doing crazy or violent things?

Interesting question, and insightful of human nature. Well, we aren’t dealing with end customers who can reprogram their car. Right now, we’re Business to Business – or B2B. That means we sell our software to companies and car manufacturers. They know what they’re doing (hopefully). But also, we have implemented means to control the functional safety during writing of code, meaning it’s difficult to write unsafe code. And last but not least: all code running in a production car must actually follow some safety standards, ranging from QM (that’s quality management) over Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) to quite elaborate proofs about Advanced Safety Integrity Levels, or ASIL, for short.

Do you have the certification to be road-legal?

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as

being certified according to one standard - and that’s it

Bringing a car to the market can generally be done in two different ways:

  1. The first is type-approval. Type-approval is when car makers prove that their production methods allow them to produce the same car again and again, proving that a single car fulfills certain rules and all others will be identical copies. This approval comes from government institutions and is based on each car part having, in turn, type approval before assembly.
  2. The second method is called single-vehicle certification. This is when you have a one-off vehicle or prototype, etc., and you go to a licensed authority that can give you a certification for it – but only for this specific single vehicle. We have neither for the cars we have built so far! They are just prototypes for internal testing and we drive them on closed circuits. To get type approval is difficult, but that’s also not our business – our customers are typically car makers and they get either type approval or single-vehicle certification.

You keep talking about the future of Veecle and future benefits? What benefit is there currently?

Our product vision is certainly long term. But with our technology of controlling existing car components, many customers benefit from achieved independence: they can suddenly program their own cars, or simply replace underlying components with different ones. All you need is a new veecle driver software - the rest stays unmodified. Huge time saver! And that also solves what’s called a Single Sourcing Problem. With the pandemic, we’ve all learned that this is a huge issue: if a supplier fails or there’s a supply chain issue, it’s often impossible to replace needed components with a similar ones from a competitor, as they don’t speak the same language or there may be other hurdles or restrictions. That used to entail an enormous financial overhead or was just technically impossible. But veecle makes those components talk. With our software, it’s like a smartphone app: Your app doesn’t care if you have a 12 Megapixel camera from Sony or a different format from Huawei, or whatever, it just gets the picture and does something with it. We treat a car pretty much in the same way: a brake is brake and a windshield wiper is a wiper. It doesn’t matter which technical language they talk or how fast they go, we just control them so that our customers can program them and ultimately breathe life into their car by making it do something.

I’ve heard that other companies like Android and Apple have car software. What makes Veecle different?

Let’s not mix things up: Android Auto and Apple Car Play are just glorified HDMI cables. They extend the screen of your phone to your car – which is super useful, don’t get us wrong. But veecle is more than that. It’s really the brain and soul of the car. It’s used to program what the car does, how it behaves, which features it has, and so on. And yes, it also has a graphical user interface like Android Auto or Apple Car Play. But that’s where the similarities end. In fact, our infotainment supports Android Auto, which means you can mirror your phone’s screen.

You did stuff at Greentech. Does Veecle technology lead to sustainability?

Sustainability is the concept of using resources of our planet in a more thoughtful way, usually by using less to achieve a goal. Our technology allows our customers to build cars with less hassle, in less time, which already saves on precious resources. But the biggest impact of our modular architecture is how many types of different vehicles (buses, trucks, passenger cars, micro vessels) can be built using identical building blocks. That’s pretty cool. We’re basically making cars compatible with the future: we allow car makers to provide lifelong updates. That means that bits and bytes can completely change the functionality of a vehicle – meaning you can use that same vehicle in different ways with just an update, giving it new life. There’s no need to throw away the old when you can update it instead. Last, but not least, we’ve got the ability to assign characteristics of how the car works to a cloud-based user profile, so,  how it looks, how it behaves, which seat and mirror position and so on. Imagine accessing your profile from a different car – sure the car isn’t yours, but all your settings are! This enables the necessary transition from ownership (read: ‘my car sits unused in a parking lot for 90% of the day’) to usage (read: ‘I just go from point A to point B without caring how and if I own that device’).

So if you’re B2B, why should I, a non-business human, care?

The future’s digital, and the future of mobility is that we all become more involved in digital consumption. Helping supply chain issues and creating opportunities for more efficient cars can help with changing modes of transportation in an evolving world, and we would love, as a European company, to be a global influence in that way.