What is AUTOSAR And Why Is It Important

The automotive industry had turned to embedded software development, which is fundamentally different than the traditional models. Usually, experienced engineers don’t spend the time to share their knowledge and innovations about the development processes, so there’s an initial brain fog when a new technology or concept is mentioned.

AUTOSAR is one of those concepts. In this post we’ll give you more information about it and why it’s important to the automotive industry.

As defined by Wikipedia AUTOSAR or AUTOmotive Open System ARchitecture is a worldwide development partnership of automotive interested parties founded way back in 2003. Its main objective is to create and establish an open standardized software architecture for automotive ECUs.

Now that you have an overall definition, let’s dive deeper into the topic.


AUTOSAR can be looked at as actually a consortium, which aims to standardize software architecture for the automotive industry. Its founders include automotive giants such as Toyota, BMW, VW, Ford, Daimler, GM, Bosch, and PSA.

The standard had to be set in order to manage the growing complexity of electrical/electronic systems as well as their quality and reliability. New products need to be more flexible and solutions need to be found across product lines. AUTOSAR is a huge step towards all this, but it might still not be enough.

For that reason, it’s expected that such standardization to be applied not only to software development but the whole manufacturing process, from description to testing. Engineers who develop new E/E architectures now have to stick to the AUTOSAR standard.

This standard enables using component-based software design model for vehicle systems. The model itself uses application software components, linked through an abstract one, called the virtual function bus. These small pieces of application software have certain functionality. The software, in general, could be composed by using different components.

Interfaces for all the application software components needed for building different applications are all specified in the AUTOSAR standard.

The abstract component, which is the virtual function bus, connects other different application software ones and also handles the information exchange. Generally, it’s the formulation of all hardware and system services offered by a particular vehicular system, which allows designers to shift their focus on the actual application instead of the infrastructure software.

With the help of the virtual function bus, different application software components don’t need to know which other they communicate with. Instead, they give their output to the virtual function bus and it guides the information to where it needs to go. AUTOSAR standardizes the interfaces as we mentioned, as well as input and output ports and format of data exchange, which make that possible.

Overall the standard allows validating the interactions of all software components and interfaces, before the actual implementation. This provides a faster way to make changes in the system design and check its functionality.

Why Is AUTOSAR So Important?

As we mentioned the increasing complexity of modern vehicles and especially their E/E systems was the main motivation behind the development of AUTOSAR. Furthermore, today’s vehicles have more than a hundred ECUs each. Every one of them has thousands of functions. Without this standard, they often have to be completely rewritten when the hardware is changed.

This has made it urgent for automotive manufacturing giants to come together and make software independent from hardware. To make that possible they set AUTOSAR as an industry-wide standard, which was a core solution for software to become reusable.

In order to understand how it achieves that, let’s have a look at it.

AUTOSAR Architecture Layer

The AUTOSAR standards divide embedded software into five layers. It puts them in a detailed diagram, which also shows how many modules come under the architecture. There you can see basic software, runtime environment, and application layer. Each of them consists of software modules, which are abstract and the layers communicate via interfaces.

Furthermore, these three groups consist of layers. The basic software, for instance, consists of Service Layer, Microcontroller Abstraction Layer, and ECU Abstraction Layer. Each of them includes software modules and services to make application software independent from ECU.

Main Goals

The modules provided by AUTOSAR layered architecture can be used in vehicles of different manufacturers and electronic components of different suppliers. This reduces expenditures for research and development while mastering the growing complexity of automotive software architectures, needed to meet increasing customer demands.

AUTOSAR allows the implementation of innovative electronic systems, which can improve safety, environmental friendliness, and overall performance. The standard is set to prepare the industry for upcoming technologies and lower costs without compromising quality. It is also compliant with all other automotive internationally accepted standards like ISO 14229, ISO 1576, ISO 27145, as well as game-changing technologies such as autonomous driving.

AUTOSAR – The Future Of Automotive

AUTOSAR is a standard set by giants in the automotive industry, in order to enable independent from hardware-software development. Functions that are now basic to vehicles, such as error detection and communication are now separately developed as a part of basic software.

This allows manufacturers and suppliers to configure the basic software according to their and their products’ specific needs. That’s now possible thanks to AUTOSAR tools, developed by specialized tool providers. The concept opens new doors for innovations and improvements in modern vehicles.