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Automotive Software: Where Are We Going?

The maturation of automotive software platforms is making it progressively easier to do business in the automotive industry...

eetasia.com, Sept. 07, 2020 – 

In my previous column I talked about the growing importance of automotive software and used the create-make-market-use concept to show how different software is from hardware. The summary of this column is that a strategy of using software platform is the best way to succeed in automotive software market.

Software is notoriously difficult to plan and execute – it is especially hard to estimate the completion time of large software projects. This has been true since the 1960s and a famous book called "The Mythical Man-Month" documents this fact. The book was published in 1975 and updated in 1995 by Fred Brooks. Software project completion issues can be summarized by Brooks's law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later!

This column will explore the current status of automotive software platforms. Any software platform relies on a hardware platform that is required for programs to run. I will look at which automotive software segment have important platforms and some of the key products. But first it is important to understand what software platforms are and their advantages and disadvantages.

Platform overview

A platform is a technology that enables the creation of similar and future products that leverage past product development efforts. The result is that many products or families of products can be developed with much lower costs than developing each product separately. In the auto industry common chassis platforms with different engines, interiors and form factors are used extensively. BEV platforms are now an important trend in the auto industry. Platforms are also very common in the computer industry and often layers of platforms are used ranging from processor platforms and hardware platforms to software platforms and application platforms.

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