Are We on the Verge of a New Approach to Vehicle System Development?

The auto industry is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t.

If you’re like us, you’ve read countless articles that state the challenges of embedded software development:

  • 3d car model60+% of projects are over budget
  • 20+% are cancelled due to excessive time or a blown-up budget
  • 30+% fall short of consumers’ expectations

Meanwhile, the competition for unique new features, better reliability and better safety has led to exponentially more software and complexity. Development efforts and costs are rising, and—let’s be honest—corners get cut.

The Catch-22 of Vehicle System Development

But the race to market comes at a price. Software fails, causing injuries and deaths, costly warranty recalls, and lawsuits. This threat is pushing auto companies to adopt tighter standards like ISO-26262. Cutting corners isn’t an option any longer. Full traceability and rigorous V&V testing are now mandatory. That’s a good thing, right?

Here’s the catch: If you improve safety, you increase the time to market or the cost of production (or both), and you could end up sacrificing innovation to make up for lost time.

The Promise of Model-Based Systems Design

Model-based design lets design teams virtually test and adjust models during the early stages of development. The popular “V” process model is often tweaked to incorporate model-based design recognizing the need for iterative development.

V-model

The Limitations of Model-Based Systems Design

A process that allows for iterative development and model-based design comes a long way toward solving these development problems. But the complexity of vehicle systems gets in the way and creates new issues. The mind can’t comprehend the incredibly complex systems of interacting components and the thousands of requirements for each system. Multiple teams of developers, scattered geographically, simply can’t keep their subsystems and interfaces consistent. Even after careful and methodical development, issues will always arise during integration and software builds.

On top of that, many large organizations face an even more serious problem. Adopting the model-based design is slow or hasn’t even begun, because it’s so difficult to transition away from legacy processes, tools and code.

Systems Development: What’s Next?

Can we have it all? Is it even possible to comprehend and manage complexity, provide traceability, guarantee consistency, increase innovation, improve productivity, guarantee safety and reliability, and reduce cost? Can you be better, faster and cheaper than the competition?

What if we adopted a more holistic view of system development—one that enables a much faster development process?

It can be done. But only if we change the way we think, and only if we adopt a process that’s built for innovation and rapidly evolving requirements, design and implementation.

That’s the challenge that SimuQuest has dedicated its energies to resolving—not just in part, but completely. In our next article, we’ll share what we’ve discovered and the surprising solution that could ruffle some feathers in the industry.

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