• Orange has contributed to 9 of the prototype’s 20 innovations, including connectivity, cyber security, in-car payment services, driving assistance and data processing to take care of the driver, passengers and other road users.
Founded in 2022, Software République is an open innovation ecosystem for smart, secure and sustainable mobility. It brings together five leading European tech companies: Orange, Thales, Dassault Systèmes, Atos and STMicroelectronics, as well as the car manufacturer Renault. Renault, which heads up the economic interest group, has a dedicated team who manages the overall initiative. Each of the partners can then propose and take part in various projects within the ecosystem, which also welcomes startups into its incubator program. Around 100 people worked on the concept car exhibited at Viva Technology 2023. Let’s take a look under the hood at three of the solutions developed by Orange.
In-Car Payment: The Universal Interface
The team observed that there are currently over 50 different applications catering to drivers looking to park in a city or town. Shouldn’t the car of the future make things like that easier? Of course it should! This concept car has a solution built into the vehicle’s screens that provides parking, drive-in and electric charging services, all within a universal messaging interface. Philippe Wagner, Technical Account Manager and In-Car Payment expert at Orange, explains: “The idea was to develop a solution that could be accessed on any screen of the vehicle, offering simple, enhanced interactions. Points of interest are displayed to the driver on the navigation map and they can access the various services via chatbots. For service providers, the In-Car Payment solution means they can integrate their services within cars, an environment that was previously out of their reach.”
It is also now possible to better protect road users by generating driver alerts, based on predicted trajectories.
V2X: A Broader Vision
In , vehicles communicate with their surrounding environment, including other vehicles, users and connected road infrastructures such as traffic lights. Florence Gagnepain, Head of Industry and Connected Transports at Orange Innovation, explains how this technology was integrated into the project: “In the concept car, we explore the journey of a city driver through their digital twin, modeled by Dassault Systèmes. Orange provides the V2X platform that collects and aggregates data from the connected urban environment in real time. Thanks to this solution, it is now possible to better protect road users by generating driver alerts based on artificial intelligence (AI) and predicted trajectories. For example, drivers can receive alerts if a pedestrian is crossing at an obstructed street corner, if an emergency vehicle is approaching or if they are entering a high-risk area, such as near a school when pupils are leaving. We worked with ergonomists from Renault to ensure that this information increases road safety without impeding the driver’s view of the road.”
The idea of “care” is central to the development of this collaborative car: the technology used must ensure the protection of people, no matter where, no matter when.
Car Health: Safe Maintenance
Software République also reveals its next project for the concept car. With Car Health, the vehicle’s service logbook is virtualized and connected for greater reliability. Information can be stored directly via the car’s sensors, revealing how worn the various parts are. The database is decentralized and secured on a blockchain, meaning the vehicle, each maintenance operation and each stakeholder are all identified within the maintenance ecosystem (mechanic, dealer). The service logbook is thus tamper-proof, so transactions between buyers and sellers can be carried out in confidence, and renters must ensure that their fleet undergoes proper operational maintenance.
Powerbox: The Smart Bi-Directional Charging Station
The Powerbox charging station allows for V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) bi-directional charging to either help the grid or power your house during peak hours, i.e. electricity can flow from the grid to the car, or from the car to a house or the grid during peak hours.
Orange will connect the charging stations to 4G by rolling out solutions with technical and integration support from the IoT Continuum.
A Pivotal Moment for the Industry
Although Software République is using VivaTech to highlight the 20 key innovations in its concept car, this demonstration is also the culmination of six months of intense work across many aspects of the connected vehicle.
- Smart bi-directional charging, so that the electrical grid can use the energy stored in the vehicle’s battery while it is not in use.
- Satellite connectivity, which means that emergency calls can be made in blackspots where there is no coverage.
- Security, including the detection of attempted cyber attacks, in collaboration with Orange Cyberdefense.
In a booming automotive industry where communication between manufacturers and tech players is accelerating, Software République is pulling out all the stops with softwarization, shared mobility and all-electric vehicles.
The in-car payment system (ICPS) allows payments to be made from within a vehicle, via wireless communication between the vehicle and partnering service providers.
Real-time vehicle communication that comes in different forms: V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle), V2I (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure), V2N (Vehicle-to-Network) and V2P (Vehicle-to-Pedestrian). V2X services enhance road safety, traffic flow in towns and cities, access to roads, and automated or autonomous driving.