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Cars of the future will have bolt-on features: Porsche

Porsche 911
Hannelore Foerster | Getty Images
Porsche 911

Driverless and connected cars will be "modular", allowing drivers to replace parts and upgrade software to keep the vehicle up to date, a Porsche executive said.

Michael Wanzeck, head of connected car at Porsche, laid out his vision for the next generation of cars.

"We make a decision today...and in about four years we ship the product. So the decision was made in 2016, the product begins in 2020 and by the time we keep selling ... it's something 2023, in the electronic world that's a century," Wanzeck said during a panel at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday.

"What we need to do is we put in bits and pieces of hardware and actually make them modular. This is one approach. Like Samsung with the TVs, you can snap in for instance additional processor power."

Wanzeck jokingly added that consumers wouldn't be able to dismantle the entire Porsche.

Modular concepts have been displayed in smartphones. LG on Sunday unveiled the G5, which allows users to replace certain parts such as the battery. A similar concept could be available for driverless cars.

Wanzeck, along with Macario Namie, vice president of strategy at Jasper, said that the over the air software updates via Wi-Fi would play a big part in future cars. Tesla's vehicles already do this.

"OTA ... is one of the largest drivers in connected vehicles. ... Tesla is pretty famous for this. .. They view themselves as a software company that happens to use the hardware of the car as a platform to drive the software which I think is the direction many OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are going," Namie said on the panel.

Over the air updates

"In what other industry would you have a product that would ship once and not change for the next 10 years?"

Wanzeck said that the OTA updates could be a lot more sophisticated than just an operating system update and could include the ability to change aspects such as the engine's power.

"OTA means adding more features in the lifetime.. .. We are starting out on the map side, then we come up with the additional features. ... Eventually you'd be able to update the entire car," Wanzeck said.