Nowadays the automotive industry needs innovative solutions. As global networks develop, cost pressures increase. Nonetheless, customer expectations concerning comfort and safety are rising. Hence, the amount of electronics used in cars is not declining but growing rapidly. Electronics are the main driver of nearly all new functions in automobiles.
ESG, as a center of competence and established partner of the automotive industry offers extensive expertise in automotive processes. Its broad experience helps ESG to use synergies between the automotive and other industries, in particular as ESG is also a much valued partner of the aerospace industry. This technological transfer enables ESG to be one step ahead as both of these industries are driving forces in technological development.
For more than 20 years, ESG has been a partner to the automotive industry. ESG develops and integrates electronics and software systems for its automotive customers, maintains prototypes and series-production vehicles, provides consultation on process and trains service personnel.
One of the companyâ€™s most important software for the automotive industry is ESGâ€™s Message Sequence Chart (MSC) Tool Chain. The MSC Tool Chain is made up of three powerful software tools which work together to simplify the specification, integration and testing of ECUâ€™s of on-board electrical systems. This allows development engineers to precisely define and test how vehicle control units communicate with each other. The system is also standardised for several companies which allows for clear and accurate communication between them.
With its headquarters in Munich, ESG has offices at a further 12 locations, and a team of over 1,000 engineers, designers and IT specialists throughout Europe. It has designed and developed systems for the majority of European auto manufacturers and component suppliers.
In August 2006, ESG signed a cooperation agreement with Semconâ€™s Informatic business area. Together, the two companies are working on a global project for General Motors. This agreement will see ESG and Semcon providing competitive solutions for General Motors which will influence the companyâ€™s business networks throughout Europe.
In another cooperative deal, ESG and Franceâ€™s CrÃ©alie have joined forces and will be combining their expertise in the area of automobile electronics in France. CrÃ©alie is now a wholly owned subsidiary of ESG. This provides ESG with a platform into the French automotive technology market. Together they offer services which include consultancy, systems integration, practical support and personnel training.
ESG training develops concepts which are designed to offer customer specific solutions. In the long-term, its training solutions increase the quality and efficiency of processes for target groups and improve company results. ESG consulting in electronic system development has its place above and beyond that of classic management consulting. Its strength lies in developing innovative and individual solutions that are heavily weighted towards implementation and the ability for them to be integrated. ESG covers the entire life cycle.
ESG examines the effects of individual development steps on production, logistics and after-sales as part of a holistic observational approach, and integrates the appropriate solutions in each particular case.
Automotive Industries spoke with Wolfgang Sczygiol, Head of ESG Automotive and asked him about ESGâ€™s cooperation in various committees such as AUTOSAR and FlexRay
1. Please provide a practical example of these systems in action.
The MSC Tool Chain, for example, is a very useful software system which supports development engineers in specifying and testing the communication behaviour between the different electronic components of a vehicle via message sequence charts (MSCs).
The MSC Tool Chain of ESG is currently being used by various automobile manufacturers in Germany and numerous suppliers as it significantly speeds up the creation of specifications and testing of communication behaviour. In addition, it also improves the collaboration between OEMs and tier one suppliers.
Furthermore, we develop and support information and retrieval systems. Literature editorial systems, for instance, Livas 3 for Volkswagen or spare parts publication and release systems as well as web based spare parts catalogs for BMW.
2. Your company regards itself as a service provider. Which services do you provide?
ESG is an expert for complete systems in all phases of the electronic and IT systems life cycle. Our services range from consulting, electronic system development, IT system development, logistics to training and life cycle services.
Let me try to give you a picture of our technological services by outlining an example. In the automotive electronic business, ESG, for instance, supports vehicle and ECU function development and the design of on-board network architecture. ESG has extensive expertise in the deployment of modern and future technologies such as modern architecture with reprogrammable systems or FlexRay bus communication. This expertise helps our customers to reduce ECU hardware diversity and system complexity which in turn saves time and costs and ensures better quality.
ESG regards itself as a service provider which always provides system expertise of the latest technologies. ESGâ€™s active cooperation in various committees such as AUTOSAR, FlexRay or ASAM and ESGâ€™s status as â€œFirst Silicon Userâ€ with various industrial partners gives us access to current and ground-braking technologies and methods.
3. ESG develops its own solutions. Why not use off the shelf software and hardware?
As an independent technology and process consultant, ESG is using off the shelf hardware and software from different suppliers and further develops them into tailor made solutions for our customers. These requirements are not covered by off the shelf hardware and software. Also the off the shelf products are not integrated and we provide consulting on integration of off the shelf IT solutions.
4. ESG is known for high quality projects. How does ESG ensure this high standard?
A key standard used by ESG for the development of systems and software is the V-Model XTÂ® (XT = Extreme Tailoring). This model represents the further development of V-Model 97, enhanced by the inclusion of agile and incremental approaches to software development, and by the closer integration of the customer in the total process.
The advantages of standardized, structured development of software systems are clear:
Minimizing project risks
Quality improvement and assurance
Minimizing total costs throughout the project and life-cycle and
Optimising communication between all participants.
Another reason for ESGâ€™s high process and project quality is that we also develop our processes according to international process models such as CMMI and SPICE. ESG even employs one of the few German CMMI lead appraisers.
5. ESG has also made a name for itself in the field of verification of components, sub-systems and the overall systems.
Yes, the company now has in-house test-centers equipped with the latest measuring and test systems. In the north of Munich, our employees integrate and test on-board networks in an ESG-owned test centre. We make sure that all electronic components fit together and function perfectly within the system. In addition, tests are also carried out on real vehicles. ESG has sole responsiblity for the entire process and also controls all communication processes on a cross-company basis. We perform static and dynamic system tests on all system levels in the laboratory, on vehicles, on prototypes as well as on the actual vehicle. Our services in testing include, for instance, the creation of test cases and test scenarios or the checking of system/customer functions.
6. ESG is a full service supplier for both aviation and automotive industry. Can ESG make a special contribution to the automotive industry as the company also operates in the aviation industry?
ESG benefits a great deal from the know-how transfer between its two business areas- automotive and aviation. The last years have shown that the developments and experiences of the automobile and aviation industries can be of enormous mutual advantage. In the 1990s, vehicle manufacturers successfully used the know-how from flight electronics when the role of electronics in cars began to grow. Today the two industries have a productive influence on each other, with the goal of increased competitiveness. However, ESGâ€™s aviation area is not the only area where technological transfer happens. There is also a great exchange between the telecommunication and automotive area regarding telematics, car to car communication and automatic testing.
7. What else do the two markets have in common?
The two markets have in common that they manufacture a complex product with a high proportion of electronics and strict safety requirements. In addition, both industries have to master complex development processes that require interdisciplinary knowledge.
Due to these similar challenges, there is much potential for a know-how transfer, for example in the areas of application and system functions architecture, where the aircraft industry leads in the area of standardisation. The automobile industry, on the other hand, is ahead in the area of digitisation of cars and the basic conditions associated with it.