Global collaboration between top players in the automotive manufacturing industry is allowing for the standardization of basic system functions, opening up opportunities for competition in creative innovation and design.
AUTOSAR (AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture) is a worldwide development partnership of car manufacturers, suppliers and other companies from the electronics, semiconductor and software industry.
Since 2003 they have been working on the development and introduction of an open, standardized software architecture for the automotive industry. By simplifying the exchange and update options for software and hardware with the AUTOSAR approach, it forms the basis for reliably controlling the growing complexity of the electrical and electronic systems in motor vehicles.
AUTOSAR also improves cost efficiency without compromising quality. The “core partners” of AUTOSAR are the BMW Group, Bosch, Continental, Daimler, Ford, Opel, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Toyota and Volkswagen. In addition to these companies, approximately 50 “premium members” play an important role in the success of the partnership. Companies which join the AUTOSAR development partnership can use the specifications free of charge.
The AUTOSAR concept is designed to pave the way for innovative electronic systems that further improve performance, safety and environmental friendliness in vehicles. The global partnership thus creates one common standard throughout the industry for basic system functions, but allowing for competition on innovative functions.
AUTOSAR has already proven itself highly successful in enabling technology and electronics to grow in increasing complexity whilst remaining cost efficient and without compromising on quality. Better technology and electronic innovation are particularly necessary for high-end luxury vehicle manufacturers and their leading Tier 1 suppliers in order to satisfy ever-increasing passenger demands.
Having a global partnership also allows for the easy exchange and update of a vehicle’s software and hardware throughout its service life. It also ensures things like driver assistance and dynamic drive aspects are standard across the board.
Using AUTOSAR, it is possible to map functions and functional networks to different control nodes in a vehicle’s application systems, almost independently from the associated hardware. AUTOSAR’s runtime environment provides inter- and intra- ECU (Engine Control Unit) communication across all nodes of the vehicle network and is located between the functional SW-components and the basic SW-modules.
In January 2008, Dr. Jürgen Mössinger, Vice President of Automotive Systems Integration at Bosch, was appointed as AUTOSAR’s spokesperson. According to Mössinger, “The most important task for 2008 is to promote the further use of AUTOSAR. The existing specifications must be implemented worldwide for the development of future cars.”
Automotive Industries spoke to Dr. Mössinger, spokesperson, AUTOSAR.
AI: How close to launch are vehicles using the AUTOSAR platform?
Mössinger: The AUTOSAR standard is already available for automotive product development. Car manufacturers are already considering the specifications for the next generation of their vehicles. We will see a number of cars with AUTOSAR-compliant software in the next few years, with the first one appearing in 2008.
AI: Can you tell us a little about who will be launching these vehicles and when?
Mössinger: As spokesperson for the development partnership, I cannot give any brand-specific statements. This information will be released by the respective companies.
AI: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the AUTOSAR consortium?
Mössinger: When AUTOSAR started in 2003, not many people believed that it would be possible to standardize the software architecture, methodology, basic software, and application interfaces. The development of a worldwide standard for the automotive industry is a huge task and requires a global partnership. This is one of the biggest challenges.
AI: How successful has AUTOSAR been in overcoming these challenges?
Mössinger: More than 120 companies worldwide have joined the AUTOSAR partnership. All major carmakers, Tier 1 suppliers, software and silicon vendors and service providers are members of AUTOSAR. This is a great success and gives AUTOSAR the power to develop a global standard. After five years of development, the latest release marks a mature and stable standard. AUTOSAR is already a real success story; many carmakers plan to apply it in their products in the near future.
AI: How do you perceive your role in the AUTOSAR consortium and what are some of the issues you hope to deal with during your tenure?
Mössinger: The spokesperson represents AUTOSAR to the public. Promotion of AUTOSAR is one of my important tasks for 2008. In order to achieve this, I will present the goals, achievements, and technology of AUTOSAR at a number of congresses, especially in the US and in Japan.
BLOCK: Key Features of AUTOSAR
Modularity and configurability
• Definition of a modular software architecture for automotive electronic control units
• Consideration of HW dependent and HW independent SW modules
• Integration of SW modules provided by different suppliers to increase the functional reuse
• Transferability of functional SW-modules within a particular E/E-system at least at the final software linking process
• Resource optimized configuration of the SW infrastructure of each ECU depending on the function deployment
• Scalability of the E/E-system across the entire range of vehicle product lines
• Standardization of different APIs to separate the AUTOSAR SW layers
• Facilitate encapsulation of functional SW-components
• Definition of the data types of the SW-components to be AUTOSAR compliant
• Identify basic SW modules of the SW infrastructure and standardize their interfaces
• AUTOSAR runtime environment to provide inter- and intra-ECU communication across all nodes of a vehicle network
• Runtime environment is located between the functional SW-components and the basic SW-modules
• All entities connected to the AUTOSAR RTE must comply with the AUTOSAR specification
• Enables the easy integration of customer specific functional SW-modules