- The increase in complexity of SDV development is outpacing our improvements in efficiency
- MBSE and software factories can improve speed and efficiency while maintaining consistency
- To realize the potential of new technology and close the complexity-efficiency gap, we need a change in culture
We need to change our development methods to tackle the complexity of software-defined vehicles.
Within the automotive industry, production is becoming more efficient. However, this linear growth in our production is easily outpaced by the rise in software complexity of software-defined vehicles (SDVs).
As this gap continues to increase, it becomes ever clearer that if something doesn’t change, it will become impossible for us to progress to L3 and beyond. The complex systems of SDVs are a result of the increasing amount of software and the higher requirements for L3 — something that is only going to increase. So, as we cannot reduce the complexity, we must improve our efficiency. Our current methodology is outdated and not suitable for the complex systems we now have, so we need a new methodology. And this is how we’ll improve our efficiency.
Model-based systems engineering
Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) uses models (rather than traditional documents and drawings) to show the different aspects of a system. As the models are represented using standardized languages, all parties get a holistic understanding of the system being developed. MBSE provides a structured representation of complex systems, thus facilitating analysis, simulation and validation. It also helps in the early identification of potential issues and makes it easier to manage changes to ensure system integrity throughout the system’s life cycle.
MBSE and software factories can help
As mentioned, as we can’t reduce the complexity of SDVs, the challenge is to maintain consistency while achieving speed and efficiency. MBSE plays a vital role here — by enabling communication and collaboration between suppliers and OEMs, MBSE helps achieve speed and efficiency. Software factories also increase speed and efficiency, but because they automate the software production process, they also maintain consistency. This combination of MBSE and software factories can be further boosted through modern development techniques such as AI (e.g., using AI to perform analytics).
How do we use MBSE and software factories
So, combining MBSE and software factories provides the three essential elements of achieving speed and efficiency while maintaining consistency, but MBSE and software factories both come with their own set of requirements:
- Software factories need to use virtual validation technology to be ‘virtual first'
- We need to test as early as possible (before the hardware is available) to reduce the number of technical debts in the code from the beginning
- MBSE needs to move the contract API between supplier and OEM into the software layer
- The contract API needs to be moved up from the communication layer to the application layer
- To enable virtualization (of OEM middleware), we need a stable API between the application and the lower layers of the software — this doesn’t need to be an industry standard across all OEMs, but needs to be stable for the specific vehicle/platform project
Culture eats strategy for breakfast
Development culture needs a change. We have a lot of changes in technology, with the solutions to the challenge of software complexity available, so why is it still a challenge? Ultimately, it’s the way of working that needs to change. In the major automotive companies, this culture change doesn’t get the attention it should be getting. We must have an intentional, planned cultural change to succeed in using the technology available to us — the technology that will enable us to close the gap between rapidly increasing software complexity and our efficiency. On a side note, purchasing culture also needs to change and auction-based purchasing is hindering real collaboration.
At Luxoft, we know the whole system of end-to-end development. We’ve got an unmatched, broad experience of clients and projects — giving us heterogenous systems knowledge. So, whichever systems you use, we can advise on and implement your development goals. Reach out to us to hear how you can close the gap between complexity and efficiency, while using technology that is already available.
Watch Karsten Hoffmeister's presentation on how 'Software factories hold the key to software-defined vehicles' at the Tech.Ad 2023 conference.