Trends That Are Disrupting Automotive Software Development

There is a disruption happening right now in the automotive industry that creates a desire for innovation. This constantly increases how much software content is present inside vehicles. All this leads to ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), vehicle electrification and cockpit technologies, to mention just a few.

We are clearly moving towards autonomy so car software development is nowadays more important than ever. Everything is practically connected with the following important trends people should be aware of.

ECU Functionality Consolidation

There are more and more functional software requirements that appear so brand new software workloads need to be considered. Vehicle architectures are changing so the architects are consolidating functionality. Everything can be consolidated into just one ECU (Electronic Control Unit) function. We see a clear increase in the popularity of virtual ECUs. They are supported by real-time virtualization.

Functional Safety

Standards are more and more complex and ECUs need extra functional safety requirements to stay up-to-date. Functional safety is in itself a challenge that has to be addressed during the early design stages. As the OEMs develop ECU specifications, ASIL (Automotive Safety Integrity Level) also has to be specified for absolutely all new functions. This does directly influence system or platform design.

Increased Connectivity Requirements

Vehicle workloads now need to be integrated with connectivity. Nowadays, customers demand to be able to control infotainment, telematics and ADAS features from outside the cars. The OEM might also design vehicle architecture in order to be sure that new features are properly supported by every vehicle, all thanks to cloud network connections. Numerous security vulnerabilities are in place now so car software development has to address them.

Increased Security Requirements

Speaking about security, requirements are now much higher because of the connectivity requirements mentioned above. This does automatically involve many elements. The modern intelligent vehicles need to have security that goes far beyond a vehicle’s physical network security. In order to prevent possible vulnerabilities, two-way security is mandatory.

OTA Updates

In the past, software updates were done at the service center. Nowadays, this is no longer the case since ECUs are updated OTA (over the air). This is a feature that should be included in absolutely all modern-day computing platforms. As you might know, such a feature has been around for years on smartphones. This is also what will be present in modern vehicles.

Open Source Software

Software development is not changing just in the auto industry. It is changing in practically all industries from around the world. This does include the use of OSS (open source software). Many OEMs adopted OSS because of the advantages associated with them. Linux is still used by many software developers but this is surely changing.

Software system integrators now prefer open source software, just like software distributors. It is impossible to have rules in place for how OSS will be used. This is something that only time will tell. However, it is a certainty that open source software will be utilized. Every manufacturer will most likely use its own OSS modifications.