Bernd Herold says the number of in-car control units need to be reduced (Photo: Claus Dick)

FRANKFURT - Automakers are making progress in adapting their development cycles to faster-moving partner industries, but they cannot yet match the agility of digital companies, said Bernd Herold, associated partner at management consultants Mieschke, Hofmann und Partner (MHP).

In an address to the carIT Congress here, Herold said the auto industry needs to develop modular software libraries for its own purposes and it needs to substantially reduce the number of control units in today's cars.

Herold noted that the new BMW 7 Series has more than 100 control units, which he termed disappointing. "We have to turn this trend around and that's a big task for car IT," he said. "We have to rethink the car architecture."

The MHP consultant laid out a vision of a digital ecosystem that includes the car and everything around it, including the smart city, smart traffic, smart home, the customer and the carmaker.