Automotive electronic systems must be reliable, robust, and safe throughout a vehicle‘s lifetime. Today, these systems rely heavily on well-designed software functions. Although the requirements for electronic components for vehicles are stringent, developers still face high pressure for low cost, shortened development cycles, and a great number of model variants.
Model-based software development provides a means to realize innovative functions in an efficient way. Therefore, customized model-based software development methods with notations such as block diagrams and finite state machines are increasingly replacing software specifications in plain text form.
Modeling of software functions offers additional benefits. The specification model is unambiguous and without leeway for interpretation. Additionally, the specification can be executed on the computer (by simulation/ virtual prototyping) and experienced in the vehicle (by rapid prototyping). All of these benefits have contributed to a wide acceptance of "digital specification". Since years it has been continuously supported by integrated ETAS development tools.
The model-based development process comprises the following development steps:
- Modeling and simulation/ virtual prototyping of software functions, including driver, vehicle, and environment on the PC
- Rapid prototyping of software functions in the actual vehicle
- Implementation of the function in the ECU
- Testing of software functions using Hardware-in-the-Loop test systems
- Validation and calibration of the software functions in the vehicle
The validation of the functions at an early stage by means of prototyping tools significantly helps to minimize the risks, as the ECU Software is only implemented in the vehicle after successful validation of the functions. This results in reduced numbers of iterations within software development.