How Software Makes a Porsche More Than Just a Car
Cloud Foundry sponsored this podcast.
Porsche has always been about technology since Ferdinand Porsche founded the iconic brand in 1931. This is manifest in today’s new models, whether it’s how engineers have shaved milliseconds from the turbo rotations for an even more responsive takeoff blast in the new 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 or the battery-powered motor for a zero-to-60 mph acceleration in the Taycan Turbo S in a slam-you-back-in-your-seat 2.6 seconds. But Porsche is radically changing, the company asserts. This means the Porsche experience — for those lucky enough to have driven one of the fabled models — is no longer brought to you by a sports car manufacture…but by Porsche as a “mobility provider.”
And this Porsche metamorphosis as a mobility provider hinges on software development, company executives say.
In this latest The New Stack Makers podcast recorded at Cloud Foundry Summit EU, hosted by Alex Williams, founder and editor in chief of The New Stack, Porsche’s Matthias Hub, Porsche IT project manager and prototyper, and Thorsten Türk-Steppe, Porsche product owner, described how Porsche is reinventing itself as a company through its DevOps’ software emphasis as a mobility provider.
The change may also be one of the most radical the iconic German sports car maker has ever undergone. “The transformation from being a sports car manufacturers into a mobility provider is a very big [change] and we want to provide mobility — very exclusive mobility, of course, as we are Porsche — but this also means Porsche needs to change,” Hub said.
The switch from being a sports car manufacturer to a mobility provider requires a “completely different and much more connected car equipped with many connected car services,” so the experience is not just about “driving a 911 on the racetrack,” Hub said.
The overall software infrastructure underpinning Porsche’s shift to becoming a mobility company is centralized under the Volkswagen umbrella, which purchased the high-performance car maker in 2012. Porsche then integrates the software into its brand-specific infrastructure and deployments, including the vehicle platform software — which is Linux-based — vehicle smartphone apps and backend and middle-layer stack software.
Porsche, as well as Audi, then hone the software stacks to “differentiate the different brands and value to the customer,” Türk-Steppe said.
Porsche is also committed to the open source movement, both as a user and as a contributor, Hub said. For Linux, for example, Porsche’s developers remain committed to adding “small pieces” of contributions or findings “back to the community,” Hub said.
Cloud Foundry also plays a big part in Porsche’s underlying IT infrastructure, including its use for Kubernetes deployments, of course. Porsche uses the Cloud Foundry installation from Volkswagen which is “doing the hosting and management of the marketplace,” Hub said. “When looking at the development of car software, we came to the conclusion we also needed to [improve how we] simulate and test our vehicles,” Hub said. “And at that point in time, we found Kubernetes to be very valuable.” Since then, by being able to spin up containers and to scale them as needed, Porsche has been able to rely on Cloud Foundry for backend development and the power and flexibility of Kubernetes for simulation and testing, Hub said.
In this Edition:
1:37: How do you see that at Porsche?
5:58: Tell me about when this started? How did Porsche get started on this journey?
13:22: How have you organized yourselves to continuously deliver software to cars on the road?
14:45: So tell me then about your technology stack for the platform?
17:11: How are you approaching open source, and where would you consider yourselves on that trajectory?
19:57: Where do you go from here? What’s on the horizon for you as a mobility company with software development at the core of it?