In the past, cars used to feature audio entertainment with just AM and FM band, cassette or CD audio.
As technology evolved and new trends emerged, consumers are demanding more sophisticated in-car entertainment features such as DVD video playability, USB connectivity, iPod connectivity and Bluetooth audio streaming.
Enters a software engineer like Mr Goh Hoe Chun.
Working for Continental Automotive, Mr Goh defines the software architecture of complex infotainment before it is deployed to software developers.
He explains: “Consumers want more information to be available in their cars.
“Thus the car radio has now evolved from entertainment system to infotainment system, with information like GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation to take you to your destination, traffic message control to help you avoid a traffic jam in real time, Internet connectivity to help you search for your favourite food joint or monitor real-time stock market price index.”
He works in a team that supports the software integration team. He also troubleshoots, reviews hardware design and gives technical support to software developers and technical advice to software project leaders.
He travels extensively on his job, for instance, to meet customers like General Motors in Detroit in the United States, conduct software and radio frequency field tests in Germany and do product feature demonstrations for customers in Korea.
He has even driven from Melbourne to Sydney in Australia for a system field test.
He says: “This job has given me many opportunities to work with colleagues and customers around the world.
“The experiences gained from such global exposure have broadened my mind, and I like the experience of interacting with people from different cultures.”
He describes his work environment as being “very open”, with lots of room for discussion in a “young and energetic organisation”.
“It is multiracial, with talent from different countries working under the same roof and as a team,” he adds.
With rapidly evolving technology in his field, his challenge is to keep abreast of the latest development on new trends.
Accuracy is also paramount in his job, as any wrong judgment in design may lead to a delay in the project schedule.
“The challenges keep me moving forward and push me to learn new things every day. The more challenges I face and overcome, the more I will learn,” he says.
“I enjoy the opportunities to explore new trending technology, which means there is always something to learn about.
“In infotainment radio product design, the consumers are always demanding for the latest infotainment technology to be embedded in their cars.”
To excel in his job, it is essential to be willing to learn, result-driven, customer service-oriented, to treat all colleagues as customers and be able to look at the big picture, he says.
He explains: “Working in a big software team, leadership is very important to make sure developers are heading in the correct direction to meet the product delivery schedule.”
His work does not involve shifts and usually ends around 5.30pm though there is a peak and off-peak development cycle.
During the peak development cycle, he works overtime and sometimes on weekends to fulfil project delivery commitment.
Mr Goh graduated from Multimedia University at Cyberjaya in Malaysia with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in electronics majoring in telecommunications in 2005.
His final-year project in the university was on embedded software, which led him to join the embedded software sector in his first job at Robert Bosch in Penang, Malaysia.
As he wanted to clinch a job nearer to his Johor home, he decided to work in Singapore and joined Continental Automotive Singapore in 2007.
Other than infotainment systems, Continental Automotive also supplies brake systems, systems and components for power trains and chassis, instrumentation and vehicle electronics.
Besides enhancing driving safety and global climate protection, the company is also a partner in networked automobile communication. It employs about 150,000 people in 46 countries.