MOVE recently spoke with Neil Kennett, Editor of Cars of The Future, about the Software-Defined Vehicle (SDV) and his long-held passion for the subject.

Kennett is moderating the panel ‘Embracing the SDV: Welcome to Life in the Software Defined Lane’ at MOVE 2023 next week, and we wanted to give you a little insight to the topic and to the moderator himself.

Here’s an exclusive sneak-peak of what you can look forward to hearing at the panel…


Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

“I’ve been a motoring journalist for over 20 years now. And I got into it via a job at the retail motor industry Federation press office. I’d always wanted to go freelance, and it just so happened that when I went freelance all my contacts were in motoring.


Over the years, I got more and more interested in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAs). From there, a short hop to self-driving, and I became more and more fascinated by the subject.


I set up Cars of The Future in 2019, to talk about connected and automated mobility in the UK. So much of the connected and autonomous vehicle content comes from America and we’ve got a lot of different challenges in this country – a mediaeval road network for starters – so I wanted UK-related motoring news to be the website’s focus. I’ve been working on cars of the future ever since.”


At MOVE 2023 you are moderating the panel ‘Embracing the SDV: Welcome to Life in the Software Defined Lane. Can you tell us a bit about the topic and why the Software Defined Vehicle is so important to the future of mobility?

“The SDV is really important, I think it’s a real shift. In the old days, cars were largely defined by the way they looked and the top speed – now the world has moved on. The term basically covers elements such as: on-board and in-cloud computer processing, seamlessly switching from the music on your phone to the car on the same platform, live vehicle-to-infrastructure communications for optimum route planning, and individual vehicle-to-vehicle communications.


My favourite bit about the SDV is the safety improvements; automated braking, automated lane keeping for crash avoidance, and eventually in the near future we will have self-driving.


My MOVE pledge last year was:


“As editor of Cars of the Future, I’m fully on board with MOVE’s drive for safer, smarter, and more sustainable mobility. My small part in this is to chart the development of an encouraged debate about all aspects of self-driving. I still love cars but I firmly believe that self-driving will be utterly transformative. If sensibly adopted, it will dramatically improve safety and combined with zero emissions mobility as a service and active travel to completely transform UK road transport by 2050.”


I think, in light of my talk at the event, all of that still stands. In fact, I might just use it again.”


What discussions do you hope to be having at the panel and what is it about embracing the SDV that you really want to discuss? 

“There are subjects that we could easily talk about for an hour, but we have only got 25 minutes. The three fantastic panellists I’ll be chatting with are: Patrick Blume from Mercedes-Benz, John Wall from BlackBerry QNX, and Marcus Welz from Hyundai. 


Some of the topics I want to talk about with them are cybersecurity, in-car personalisation, Smart City connectivity, multi-modal transport, and we might even get into self-driving if we have time at the end – I’m not sure I can resist.”


Why do you think some companies are a little hesitant to embrace the SDV?

“I think almost all of the people who are at MOVE will be open to the idea of software defined underpins. Some of the resistance to the SDV may come from a less well-informed, general public and then some of the people from the traditional motor industry. I think some doubt the functionality of the SDV, but if you learn about it, it’s an absolute game-changer.


If you if you take the fact that it is going to be safer, and then you start thinking about the amount of time that it frees up and how it crosses over with other megatrends. It’s all the different forms of transport that can be presented in a much more coherent way using software-defined architecture that is so much broader than pure automotive, it cuts in so much wider mobility.”


If you want to see this panel take place next week at MOVE 2023, then now is your last chance to get tickets! Join Neil Kennett and meet him at the event as well as thousands of other attendees. Purchase your ticket here.