In the "Software-Defined Car" (SofDCar for short) project currently funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Vector and 12 other well-known companies and research institutions have been working since August 2021 to develop new methods and processes for the car of the future and its effective use of data.
In addition to Vector, the project partners include Bosch, Mercedes-Benz, T-Systems International, the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
If you take a look at current vehicles, you will quickly see that they sometimes contain more than 100 control units. Even if the sheer number of control units is decreasing in absolute terms, the complexity of the electrical and electronic systems continues to increase. Making this manageable and enabling continuous updates is one of SofDCar's project goals. To achieve this, new functions in and around the vehicle must be developed more quickly. Standardized rules and processes are intended to help ensure that the electronic components in the vehicle interact smoothly, can be updated and thus remain safe - throughout the entire life cycle of a vehicle.
"The composition of the committee takes into account many important aspects of software development for modern mobility. Vector has been a partner in the E/E development of the companies involved here on the committee for more than 30 years.
With the development of an execution platform for remote functions as well as a tool solution for managing variant-rich software, we are pleased to be able to make a significant contribution to this project."
— Dr. Bastian Zimmer | Project manager at Vector
In developing an execution platform, Vector wants to move the networking of the functional parts in the vehicle as transparently as possible to the back end, i.e. to the cloud. Existing communication standards, APIs and exchange formats will be used so that the familiar AUTOSAR-based development methodology can continue to be used in the vehicle. In addition to the software components in the vehicle, the developer of a vehicle function should also be able to develop, execute and network components in the cloud. In concrete terms, this means that in the future, the electronics in the car will no longer have to take on all the tasks; instead, the cloud will take on some of them.
The development of the tool solution, on the other hand, is about managing software with many variants. This is because classic automotive software varies both with the product variants and over the lifetime of the vehicle. However, in order to be able to ensure maintenance and error corrections in the long term, a centrally maintained software platform is needed as a separate software product line. The development of this tool for describing and managing variants in software components requires detailed knowledge of the variants and their dependencies. This is the only way to evaluate the compatibility of software versions for existing or planned software developments.
Vector is tackling the major challenges in networking vehicle functions with enormous passion and commitment. Vector contributes the expertise and competence it has built up over decades to 18 associations and federations through collaboration and memberships. This is also the case with the current "Software-Defined Car" project, which is driving forward digitalization in vehicle technology in order to be able to establish functional and IT security for all software updates and upgrades in the future. Vector is taking on this challenge through its dedicated project collaboration.