“Software will become the decisive factor for the coming years”

“Software will become the decisive factor for the coming years”

Interviews |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

eeNews Europe: What trends do you see in the automotive industry and particularly with Autonomous Vehicles and how will they influence the market for automotive software?

Dirk Giesen: Due to the ongoing climate debate, a massive transformation of individual mobility towards alternative drives is currently taking place. The automotive industry had to decide to enter the field of electromobility at very short notice. However, electric vehicles can only be operated sensibly if they are connected and integrated into a system so that relevant data such as the position of the vehicle or the location of charging stations can be accessed via software. This requires a digital infrastructure.

Also, cars will soon be able to drive autonomously in certain situations. This will lead to another massive change. The first signs are already visible: the shift from owning a vehicle to “having access”, i.e. through leasing via pooling or sharing, to “Mobility as a Service” concepts. Imagine what happens when you no longer need a car, because you always have access to a car when you request it via an app in the morning and you only have to pay for it when you use it.

Both trends are leading to a sharp increase in software in modern cars. McKinsey expects that the market for automotive software will more than double in the next 10 years and the market for verification and validation tools will even triple. Software development will thus become the biggest cost driver and possibly even the biggest brake on the development of new vehicles.

eeNews Europe: With software becoming the crucial part of the value-chain, does this change the Quality Assurance and Quality Control procedures? 

Giesen: All higher functions in vehicles require software at component level. In order to ensure the correctness and functional safety of critical components, they have already been subjected to intensive analyses and audits. In modern cars, however, the software becomes part of the “primary process” of driving and the digital ecosystem becomes the elementary basis for the product’s function and capabilities.

Thus, a software problem has a massive impact on the car as well as on the manufacturer’s and the model’s reputation. In order to eliminate a problem, it is not a simple “product recall” to the workshop, but open-heart surgery. Therefore, the type of quality assurance must also change. As more and more components exchange data, new development paradigms and different test methods are required. Safety and security by design are therefore essential and security must be the central motive in the software life cycle and thus in the quality process.

Last but not least, the introduction of more and more functionality – which is even possible through machine learning and artificial intelligence – makes classic software quality approaches like specific coding standards insufficient.

eeNews Europe: Looking at software architecture and production-line, what trends are emerging? 

Giesen: From a software perspective, we see similar developments in the automotive industry that have changed enterprise software over the last decade. API-based software architectures and modern operating systems (Linux) using IP-based communication – such as SOME/IP and DDS – form the basis of the new software architecture. In addition to the platform change, software development itself is moving from waterfall and V-model based verification to agile and test-driven development methods. This includes modern concepts such as CI (Continuous Integration) and possibly even CD (Continuous Deployment) of software components.

eeNews Europe: Speaking of CI/CD integration – how will this influence the software development process?

Giesen: CI/CD act like “steroids” for the software development process. The use of code analysis, unit testing and coverage become standard steps and are performed continuously. This makes it much easier for the teams to deal with the reports and achieve step-by-step improvements compared to the classic software process. Just as series production was the key to the manufacture of high-quality cars, CI/CD does the same for software production. Since we have already implemented this in our tools we are well prepared and can offer the necessary tools to ensure software quality for the automotive industry and its suppliers.

eeNews Europe: What is your view on the trend of more “owning the software development process” compared to “buying software based components from suppliers”?

Giesen: As software becomes the most important part of a modern vehicle and its digital ecosystem, we see that OEMs are building the knowledge and intellectual property for software development themselves. Just as building the engine has often been considered a core competency, this will be true for software in the next decade. Software will become the decisive factor for the coming years. You can see this, for example, from the fact that Volkswagen wants to increase the share of in-house developed software from 10 to 60% in the next five years.

eeNews Europe: How do OEMs and tier ones handle the verification and validation of safety-critical software?

Giesen: OEMs relied for a long time on the software development competence of their suppliers. This is changing now. As a result, OEMs are building up knowledge to have the whole software development process and the knowledge about the verification and validation process.

eeNews Europe: With rising auditory/compliance reporting needs, which solutions does your company offer?

Giesen: As mentioned above, Parasoft is an important supplier test tool for Autosar and ISO26262 compliance. The technology provides full and complete reporting of MISRA compliance (as well as security standards such as CERT). The tools for this are TÜV-certified and are supplied with a tool qualification kit.

eeNews Europe: What are your thoughts on the use of standards like Autosar and ISO 26262 for safety and security of autonomous vehicles? And what role do they potentially play in the balance between cooperation/partnership and differentiation?

Giesen: The Autosar standard and also the requirements of ISO 26262 provide a very good basis for developing safe and reliable software. They help both in the definition of software architectures and in design and coding recommendations. Support for the coding standard and security requirements are part of our core competence, which we offer in our tools to the automotive industry. We are a leading provider of technologies for coding standards, unit testing, coverage measurements and traceability. In addition, our newer API validation tools, both internal and external to the car, are part of the Parasoft tool chain.

It becomes interesting -or more difficult – when more and more software is based on machine learning or artificial intelligence, so that the functionality of the applications in the development phase is only “indirectly” modelled in the software code. Learning systems continue to evolve, so that in perspective a transition from offline certification to dynamic online certification is necessary. However, this is currently still a dream of the future. In order to develop further, Parasoft is involved in several networks and R&D projects on these topics to develop the necessary innovations with partners from industry and research.

Dirk Giesen is Vice President Sales EMEA, Parasoft. Dirk joined Parasoft in 2006. With a degree in Computer Science, Dirk’s experience helping customers achieve success in high-tech, embedded, and business IT markets includes roles with Telelogic (acquired by IBM in 2006), Benelux and German distributor QA-Systems, and Benelux distributor Koning en Hartman.

More information:

Related articles:

Reports: Volkswagen struggles with software problems at ID.3

Siemens opens its arms to automotive electronics developers

Modular methods facilitate software development for autonomous driving

Static Analysis & Coding Standards Compliance for Autonomous Driving Software

Online platform automates software integration for networked vehicle architectures


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