Product Lines and Variant Management in E/E Engineering

Practically all electrical/electronic (E/E) developments in the automotive industry now use a product line approach. The development object is not just a certain vehicle model but a whole vehicle family with many different drive, body and equipment variants. This is why one often hears the terms E/E toolbox or E/E platform being used to describe the development object, or product line. Starting with this type of E/E product line, it is necessary to support the different vehicle models as variants and allocate systems and components to them. Efficient variant management is therefore essential for development.

In PREEvision, our model-based E/E engineering environment, it is possible to model a product line on different abstraction levels: requirements, logical function architecture, software architecture, hardware architecture, communication and wiring harness. The product line contains all the artifacts for various different products or variants. A variant is a fully characterized product and therefore a subset of the artifacts of the product line. We illustrate this by an example from the field of powertrain.

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