Putting those two themes together, automotive engineers face the challenge of synthesizing electronics, packaging materials, controls software, embedded software, and cloud services. To pull it off, a "model-based and system approach" is becoming a critical design discipline, said Jim Tung of MathWorks.
He cited the example of developing a car that trims fuel consumption while meeting performance objectives. First, engineers must look at the car's transmission and its control algorithms. Under the systems approach, they calculate fuel use, probe parameter values, and develop an optimization algorithm. In system-level modeling, if done right, engineers explore different design options and complete software optimization at the model level, even before they generate code.
In summary, the two keynote speakers stressed that the pairing of electronics and software is becoming increasingly important. The heavy use of electronics will allow automotive engineers to follow Moore's Law while affording the opportunity for more capability designed in to future models.
The two speakers agreed that software is the key. Software enables fusion of data, signals and experiences, Buczkowski said, but such integration creates "complex software, making its quality even more challenging."
Last but not least, "tools and processes is key," he said. The automotive industry will leverage ISO 26262 (the Functional Safety standard) to deliver "safety-critical systems." This will require "tools that help keep the automobile industry focused on creating, and not limiting the experience that customers want and need."
Functional safety standard
After the keynote speech, EE Times asked Buczkowski how far along the automobile industry is in establishing ISO 26262 certification programs for players throughout the supply chain -- from chips, foundries, and software to tools, modules, subsystems, and the automobile itself.
He said a lot of work still must be done to certify the entire ecosystem for ISO 26262 and for tracing safety in software and systems. "But we are taking a cue from what the aircraft industry has done for their functional safety certification."