2024 state of automotive software development

2024 state of automotive software development

Market news |
By Nick Flaherty

Perforce Software has released its 2024 study into the state of automotive software development.

With the prospect of software-defined vehicles, the analysis from the Perforce State of Automotive Software Development survey highlights the key concerns of developers around the world.

The survey of 600 automotive development professionals, conducted with Automotive IQ and the Eclipse Foundation,  finds meeting regulations requiring cybersecurity approval is the top security concern while  code quality and the global economy were also important.

The annual survey has been expanded geographically to include more respondents from the Asia-Pacific region, providing a more accurate view of the current state of automotive development worldwide and emphasizing the role of China as a key player.

The three top concerns of automotive software developers are quality (29%), security (25%), and safety (21%). Quality was the top concern for respondents in the Asia-Pacific region, while security was the leading concern for respondents in all other regions. 

Electric and connected vehicle development is also greatly impacting development teams. The majority of teams are now working on electric components (84%), and connectivity components (79%) to some degree.

The shift from safety to security this year suggests that while safety standards are now well established in the automotive industry, embedded security — especially meeting regulations requiring cybersecurity approval and enforcing secure coding practices — will be an important focus for automotive professionals in the years ahead. 

Ten other concerns for automotive software developers  

  1. Recalls are on the decrease – 36% as opposed to 56% last year. This could be linked to a reduction in code vulnerabilities (40% as opposed to 52% in 2023).
  2. Verifying and validating software is the most time consuming activity – at 47% followed by reviewing code for errors/coding rule violations – 34%.
  3. Agile is the most popular development method – at 51%, followed by model driven development at 47%.
  4. AI is making major inroads – it is being used by 75%.
  5. Open source is widespread – 70% use open-source tools.
  6. 51% are actively working on electric vehicles and 33% are working on some electric components.
  7. Connected vehicles have also impacted product design – 39% are actively working on connected vehicles, 43% working on some connectivity components.
  8. ISO 26262 compliance is a requirement for the majority – 77%
  9. 82% use a coding standard –  62% are using MISRA®, an increase of 20% over last year. 32% use AUTOSAR C++14, a decrease of 4%. 
  10. C++ is still the leading programming language for automotive software development (51%); however, C is quickly catching up, increasing from 34% to 50%.

“Embedded security concerns continue to rise as the need to protect automotive electronic systems, communication networks, and software grows,” said Perforce Product Evangelist Steve Howard. “OEMs and their supply chain partners want to prevent costly and malicious attacks, unauthorized access, or manipulation to automotive systems, and ensuring their code is secure is the first step to mitigating those incidents.”

The global economy continued to have the greatest market impact of automotive software professionals, which means that among other strategies, maintaining industry competitiveness and maximizing existing resources are of great importance in 2024. Perforce’s findings also show that there was an increasing move toward a hybrid/remote workforce and a greater focus on team productivity and accelerating development.

With electric and connected vehicle segments becoming more established in today’s market, software is even more central to automotive development. The increasing amount of software installed in vehicles can lead to more safety and security considerations during the development process — preferably as early as possible. Of those surveyed, 59% of automotive developers have adopted or are in the process of adopting a shift-left strategy to identify software vulnerabilities as they code.

The use of some specialist tools are on the rise – use of static analysis software is up 25% since 2023, now used by 67% (as opposed to 42% last year). Similarly, version control jumped 18% from 38% to 56%. 

Another notable finding was that 82% use a coding standard to ensure safe, secure, and reliable code — with 67% of those surveyed using a static code analysis tool to aid in compliance, and 26% using a SAST tool to ensure secure software. 

This year, 62% of developers surveyed are using MISRA, a 20% increase over last year. The publication of new MISRA guidelines (MISRA C:2023 and MISRA C++:2023) likely account for the sharp increase in those respondents using the standard.

“Organizations across the automotive industry continue to work toward meeting the highest levels of quality,” said Director of Compliance Jill Britton. “With the rapid growth of the electric and connected vehicle segments, compliance to safety and security standards is going to be more important than ever.”

Perforce supplies the Helix QAC static code analyzer for C and C++ programming languages as well as the Klocwork static analysis and SAST tool for C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Python and Kotlin programming languages.

The survey is available at

A live webinar featuring analysis of the results will take place on April 25, 2024. Those interested in attending can register at:


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