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Why aren’t tools from different suppliers easier to integrate?

John Day

John Day

Posted Jun 19, 2012
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That question about the difficulties involved in integrating development tools from different suppliers was asked rhetorically during a presentation at IESF Detroit by Paul Hansen, editor and publisher of The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics (hansenreport.com).

“Why the lack of integrated tool solutions?” Hansen asked Mentor Graphics VP Serge Leef. It’s because there are no standards, Serge replied. Mentor could produce different tools for different automakers, but that’s not a good direction for a tools vendor.

Customers have to embrace AUTOSAR

“The flows and methodologies in the automotive design world are based on a patchwork of disintegrated solutions from a variety of smallish, service-oriented vendors, and home grown solutions,” Serge Leef told Hansen. “Step one, customers have to embrace AUTOSAR.”

A prerequisite for creating a comprehensive and integrated set of tools is a solid foundation of standards that have broad acceptance by customers, and that has only recently become plausible with AUTOSAR.

AUTOSAR momentum is building, slowly

Hansen told IESF attendees that since rollouts of AUTOSAR began in 2008, only a very small fraction of ECUs made worldwide – 2% in 2011 – have AUTOSAR software inside. Many of those ECUs are not fully compliant but only contain elements of AUTOSAR.

“By 2016, I am told, roughly 20% to 25% of all the ECUs produced worldwide will have AUTOSAR. That is only counting implementation by the core AUTOSAR partners – BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, PSA, Toyota, and Volkswagen. But other carmakers including Hyundai, Fiat and SAIC have begun AUTOSAR projects. AUTOSAR momentum is building, slowly.”

Hansen said tier one companies can spend as much as €20 million per-year on engineers whose job it is to keep software development tools interoperable, and suppliers use as many as 80 different tools.  Engineers benefit from having a smooth transition from one tool to the next. Also, there is a need to simplify the exchange of data between tools. This is an essential requirement of the functional safety standard ISO 26262.

“Ralph Mueller, a director for the Eclipse Foundation, told me, ‘The data must be exchanged from the requirements tools to the development tools, to the testing tools. You need to prove that yes, all requirements have test cases. You can only do this properly, in an automated way, if you have appropriate connections between the tools for different artifacts.’”

Hansen told the IESF audience that ISO 26262 is already being taken seriously by carmakers worldwide. “Not only is ISO 26262 stimulating interest in software tools integration around Eclipse, it is also pushing the adoption of standard procedures to implement the interconnection of tools, such as those defined by the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration. OSLC is a community of software developers and organizations working to standardize the way software lifecycle tools can share data with one another.”

IESF, Hyundai, ISO 26262, SAIC, Daimler, The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics, Toyota, AUTOSAR, Volkswagen, Mentor Graphics, Ford, Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration, General Motors, Paul Hansen, Eclipse Foundation, PSA, Fiat

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News (johndayautomotivelectronics.com) to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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