AUTOSAR Concept: A New Car Software Development Trend of 2019

In the automotive industry, OEMs want to constantly add new functionalities to their existing platforms or develop new ones that include them, in order to meet the increasing demands of customers.

Including more functionalities causes a growing complexity in the development process of software and a number of variants for one automotive platform, through the same or separate Electronic Control Units (ECUs).

In order to achieve the development of new systems at the same time, companies need to hire more employees to work on a project or find more experienced ones, which would add the same value. However, in both cases, that’s an additional development cost, so one of the two prerequisites is not actually fulfilled.

That’s only one of the reasons why a new concept has to be introduced. Among the main problems of automotive software and hardware modules is poor reusability, mostly because of high dependency between OEMs and suppliers and also because embedded systems don’t support full hardware abstraction or limited modularity.

The Solution

With these concerns in mind, all the way back in 2004, AUTOSAR consortium introduced a new concept of automotive programming paradigm: the AUTOSAR development method.

This step was an essential milestone in the development of automotive technology. It finally understood that separating the basic software from application modules and transitioning from customer-specific basic modules to standard ones and application ones described through uniform interfaces are necessary for running functional code on different hardware platforms.

What Does AUTOSAR Actually Mean?

AUTOSAR or AUTomotive Open System Architecture is a worldwide development partnership of automotive interested parties found almost 2 decades ago. Its main task is to create and establish an open standardized software archiecture for automotive ECUs.

The partnership’s goals also include transferability of software, collaboration, sustainable utilization, scalability to different vehicle and platform variants and maintainability through the whole life cycle of a product.

AUTOSAR was originally formed by Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Chrysler, Continental, Bosch, and Siemens, with a purpose to develop and establish an open industry standard for automotive electronic/electrical architecture. Later on, more companies join the core partners, such as General Motors, Toyota and Ford and that was only the beginning. In 2018 it reached the point when over 200 companies participated in the partnership.

More Than Just a Trend

AUTOSAR is different from all the other embedded programming paradigms. The reason behind the difference is that it makes it mandatory to separate the functionality from the entire ECU in standardized layers. Additionally, this divide operation also defines standard interfaces through the modules or software components.

This standardization provides many advantages, such as scalability to different platforms, consideration of available safety requirements, integration of functional models from more than one supplier and reusable software components.

Furthermore, AUTOSAR is public architecture. To be used for commercial purposes, a certificate from the board is needed. Without one a developer can’t sell the software under the AUTOSAR brand.

Adaptive Platform

Today, the development of an adaptive platform is more and more urgent. A good reason for this is the highly automated nature of driving. As vehicles get partly responsible for driving, instant communication with infrastructure and cloud servers is required.

What’s more, connected vehicles and vehicle-to-X (V2X) applications also require interaction with its off-board systems. For that reason, on-board communication has to be very secure and support smartphone integration, integration of non-AUTOSAR systems and cross-domain computing platforms. Cloud-based services also require specific security means. All this enables remote services such as over-the-air updates.

In order to support the constant distribution of customer applications and provide the right environment for such that need high-end computing, AUTOSAR recently standardized the AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform. This is an operating system based on the POSIX standard. Its key feature is service-oriented communication.

The Adaptive Platform contains specifications and code. Compared to the Classic one AUTOSAR developed and implementation, that shortens validation cycles and illustrates underlying concepts. It’s available to all companies in the partnership.

AUTOSAR Concept: A Norm For Automotive Software Development In 2019

The AUTOSAR consortium has provided a game-changing solution, which provides efficient work with less time and money invested than before. It finally gave OEMs the freedom to choose software solutions from multiple suppliers, which also suggest higher-quality products.

AUTOSAR tools and methods significantly improve the quality of embedded programming. The AUTOSAR concept is only the beginning of a long process, which takes time for implementation. The automotive industry should go ahead and use this software development trends and make the most of its benefits.