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Automotive Industries caught up with Simon Fürst, spokesperson, AUTOSAR Development Partnership

We noticed a strong trend towards AUTOSAR in Asia as numerous suppliers from that region joined AUTOSAR recently

The AUTOSAR (AUTomotive Open System Architecture) Development Partnership is coming to the end of Phase II. By the year-end AUTOSAR will release the 4.0 version of its platform and Phase III will kick in from 2010 to 2012. AUTOSAR’s Release 4.0 specifications will be delivered end of November 2009, including conformance test specifications for basic software and the implementation of new concepts in basic software and methodology and templates. The new concepts introduced in AUTOSAR Release 4.0 are adding technical and functional improvements and extensions to the following main areas – functional safety, architecture, communication stack and methodology & templates. 

According to the AUTOSAR partnership, Release 4.0 will offer more than 160 new features which will open new opportunities in terms of engine control unit or ECU development. For example, functional safety features will support the ISO DIS 26262 standard for safety related applications. The memory-partitioning concept will allow safety and non safety applications to be implemented on the same ECU. In terms of the architecture of Release 4.0, the multi-core concept is expected to enable a high integration of independent ECUs and the migration of one cohesive application to a multi-core ECU. AUTOSAR will continue to maintain its previous releases currently being used in series-production products by the automotive community. 

“Harmonizing and completing the local error handling mechanisms, the error handling concept has been designed for reusing the same strategy within different architectural areas (memory stack, communication stack, etc.). It will enable applications specific decisions allowing for example, specific software components to be stopped and restarted. Regarding the methodology, one of the most significant improvements is the introduction of the variant handling concept giving more flexibility in software reuse: the large variability found in vehicles and the scalability to different vehicle and platforms is one of the main objectives of AUTOSAR,” said Gerulf Kinkelin, the ex-spokesperson for AUTOSAR and innovation manager interior, telematics and electronics at PSA Peugeot Citroën, about Release 4.0 in an earlier interview to AI. 

The AUTOSAR Development Partnership was created in 2003 by BMW, Bosch, Continental, DaimlerChrylser, Volkswagen and later Siemens VDO, to establish an open standard for automotive E/E architecture which would serve as a basic infrastructure for the management of functions within both future applications and standard software modules. Today, the AUTOSAR partnership has expanded to include a large number of OEM manufacturers and Tier I automotive suppliers – the
membership list includes Ford, Toyota, Peugeot Citroen and General Motors. Today, more than 120 companies worldwide have joined the AUTOSAR partnership. Many major carmakers, Tier 1, software and silicon vendors and service providers are members of AUTOSAR. 

In July this year, Simon Fürst took over as the spokesperson for the AUTOSAR Development Partnership. Since 2003, Simon Fürst has been in charge of software development and integration at BMW. He is the author of the in-house Group Standard Embedded Software and a project leader for ISO 26262. Since 2006, he has been AUTOSAR Project Leader at the BMW Group and switched from the AUTOSAR Project Leader Team to the AUTOSAR Steering Committee in 2008. 

Automotive Industries caught up with Simon Fürst, the new spokesperson of the AUTOSAR Development Partnership. 

AI: Tell us about the launch of Release 4.0 – how will it impact developers? 

AUTOSAR Release 4.0 will provide many new features to the developers enabling them to realize even more complex and higher integrated functionality on a single ECU. As the basic architecture of Release 4.0 is a logic further development of the well established architecture of Release 3.x, AUTOSAR based applications will be easily migrated to the new Release while taking benefit from new concepts like memory partitioning and enhancements on the communication stack. Meanwhile also the templates like e.g. the System Template have been massively extended enabling an even smoother headway in the XML based AUTOSAR methodology.
We expect that ECU development based in Release 4.0 will start in 2010 with basic software implementations and updates AUTOSAR tooling being available. 

AI: What kind of roadmap has AUTOSAR drawn up for Phase III which will end in 2012? 

The roadmap of AUTOSAR is to be seen as a logical continuation of the results achieved in Phase II. The top level goals of the project will be a) maintenance of existing specifications, b) improvement of maintainability and c) further development to augment the established AUTOSAR architecture. While points a) and b) ensures that the existing releases become even more mature, the further development will extend the standard to follow up new technologies becoming available while keeping its well established parts as a mature foundation. 

AI: What will come after Release 4.0? 

Release 4.0 is to be regarded as a major Release of AUTOSAR that will become the baseline for all further development in AUTOSAR Phase III. New or extended features will be introduced selectively during the next years. They will always have to follow the rules of backwards compatibility being currently defined in detail by AUTOSAR to ensure interoperability with existing AUTOSAR systems. 

As one of the new concepts AUTOSAR will support efficient energy management on ECU and bus level to reduce the electrical energy consumption. 

AI: What are some of the future opportunities and challenges facing AUTOSAR? 

AUTOSAR is getting more and more established in the market as the standard for infrastructure software for automotive systems. This brings us to the situation that users migrate from one Release of AUTOSAR to a later one, e. g. from R3.0 to R4.0. Therefore AUTOSAR has to ensure that the investments made in the AUTOSAR framework are re-useable as far as possible when upgrading from one Release of AUTOSAR to another one. To ensure this AUTOSAR has currently started to work out compatibility statements on the different levels of the standard; within Phase III backwards compatibility will become a basic design constraint for any further development. 

AI: Tell us about the new members from across the globe who have joined AUTOSAR from the ranks of car manufacturers, suppliers and companies from the electronics, semiconductor and software industries. 

Even in the current economic situation new members from across the globe continuously join AUTOSAR. An up to date overview can be found at We noticed a strong trend towards AUTOSAR in Asia as numerous suppliers from that region joined AUTOSAR recently.