Embedded software: Innovation, and commoditisation

Most IT professionals are involved in deploying and managing enterprise applications, but increasing numbers are involved in embedded applications. Nowhere is it more apparent than in the auto industry.

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As the cost pressures and the content of software in a vehicle increased, the OEM car makers worldwide started looking at standardising the software architecture of the ECUs, to facilitate software reuse across vehicles & across subsystems. As a result of this quest an industry forum called Autosar (AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture) was formed by the various industry leaders. This forum has been extremely active and today is set to redefine the trends for future vehicle software. The following is the overview of the Autosar architecture. (For more information, visit Autosar.org ).

The standardisation of the interfaces is expected to pave the way for plug-and-play of various software products from different vendors to work together in the ECU allows for:

  • Major cost amortisation
  • Reduced development time
  • Better quality

With most of the industry players actively driving this in Europe, the desire of the industry to reduce cost and development time seems to be now taking shape. Most of the OEM car makers and Tier 1 suppliers are part of the Autosar consortium and appear keen to see the success of this initiative.

On the flip side like any major initiative of this scale, there is widespread speculation about how successful this one would be. However, for past couple of years if the buzz at the key industry forums is any indication, success seems to be on the way.

For software companies operating in this space the development of Autosar was a great opportunity to leverage change. The companies involved are currently involved in three major tasks:

  • Working with leading Semiconductor manufacturers to provide Autosar based software services.
  • Developing its own Autosar based vehicle network products to be available for world market in co-operation with a leading car maker.
  • Offering services to migrate ECU software to Autosar standards with its vast experience in this area and knowledge of Autosar.

Anup Sable is vice president of automotive and allied embedded and tools at KPIT Cummins

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