Automotive IT Projects: Software Features & Perspectives

Automotive IT Projects
The first firmware for autos appeared in the 60th of the last century. This innovation changed the auto manufacturing industry drastically. 

The integration of electronic brains simplified driving and vehicle maintenance, improved security, and added more comfort. Equipping vehicles with automotive programs made autos more comfortable and safer. Thus, the development of such utilities is a popular direction in the IT sphere.

The technical implementation can be mechanical, hydraulic, electrical, or electronic. Several of these technologies are often combined, while electronics are increasingly playing a key role in the implementation of many automotive innovations.

Nowadays, almost all functions in cars of all classes are controlled and monitored electronically. Technological progress makes it possible to implement many new, more powerful functions through the use of software.

Firmware Requirements for Cars

Vehicle utility requirements vary greatly. Many engine control and traffic safety systems must ensure that control operations are responsive so that they do not lag behind the physical process. Thus, when controlling very fast physical processes, such as engine control or motion dynamics, calculations must be performed very quickly. 

In addition, reliability requirements are very high in many areas. This especially applies to security functions.

Auto software is mostly developed for specific areas of application and integrated into a single system. It is also called firmware, “hardwired” into a read-only memory device. Many features are often developed and refined over a long period in different parts of the world.

The specific features of the software depend on the application. While the drive and transmission software has a broad scope, the chassis software focuses on real-time performance. Comfort safety systems focus on efficiency, i.e. resource consumption, and multimedia applications require processing large amounts of data in a short time.

Thus, the main task of an automotive software company is to stay in close connection with a client and communicate to identify the needs of the software and develop a corresponding project.

Benefits of Automotive Firmware

Any project development is targeted at creating a new utility or improving an existing function. Such functionalities serve to:

  1. Create additional advantages for the driver, other passengers, service station mechanics, or carriers.
  2. Improve comfort during driving by adding extra opportunities.
  3. Prevent accidents and eliminate the risk of unintentional damage to other property.
  4. Ensure compliance with legal requirements.
  5. Simplify maintenance and identify errors or hazards in vehicle functioning timely.
  6. Increase the efficiency of design and manufacturing.

Overall, the use of car firmware for system management significantly improves the comfort and maintenance of the vehicle. Besides, the main purpose of electronics in cars is to simplify and secure driving. Thus, drivers get excellent assistance by using electronic brains.

Software for Automotive

Process of New Firmware Creation

When developing any type of software, IT specialists organize in teams, where each member is responsible for a certain task. Thus, multiple specialists are enrolled in the process; they perform their duties to achieve one common goal. The development of any project requires passing through the next stages:

The analysis of a brand and its competitors, and identifying a client’s requirements

It is a preparatory stage, without which it is impossible to develop any utility. At this stage, a business analyst determines the requirements of the client, analyzes business processes, and identifies functional and non-functional requirements for future projects.

Design

Once a technical specification is ready, a designer is enrolled in the process. At this stage, the system architecture is created; components, modules, and connections between them are determined. The step also comprises the selection of technologies, tools, and a development platform.

Coding

This is exactly the phase when programmers come into play and start writing code. They write the source code of a program in a chosen programming language. They should follow a previously developed architecture and use consistent coding standards. At this step, developers implement the functionality and logic described in the requirements.

Testing

Once the software is written and coded, it is necessary to test whether all functionalities work correctly. Software testers start their duties at this stage. During this phase, testers apply system, functional, and other types of testing to identify bugs, find all shortcomings of the utility, and ensure that the software satisfies the set requirements. All mistakes are documented, and the project is sent to developers again to re-write the code.

Integration

At this stage, the developed software is installed and integrated into the target platform or infrastructure, i.e. into vehicles. This phase also includes setting up and configuring the software to ensure it works correctly in the environment where it will be used.

 Service and support

Once the software is integrated, an IT agency provides a support team. During this step, developers monitor firmware operations, fix bugs, release updates, and provide user support. Support and maintenance continue throughout the product life cycle.

Prospects for Auto Software Development

New built-in technologies and peculiarities will continue to increase the volume of software in cars, including vehicles of the budget segment. As a result, the functionality of autos continues to grow.

Generally, system distinctions between different control units disappear. The control of the hybrid drive is an excellent example of this tendency. Thus, automotive software is becoming increasingly complex.

Another trend is the increasing virtualization of development, where parts of later development phases (such as testing and calibration) are integrated into simpler development phases. For example, already functional models can be cyclically tested and fed with data on a preliminary basis. 

In this way, faults are identified earlier, and weak points are eliminated immediately before the start of series production.

To get a high-quality result, it is vital to address reputable IT agencies, specialized in automotive software development. 

The thing is that each field of the IT industry differs. So, if you need a quality product for cars, specialists should be aware of all the features of auto software functioning and development. In this case, the development process will take less time and effort.

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