Today’s automobiles are among the most sophisticated machines on the planet. Much of the functionality of modern automobiles emanates from embedded software features that control electronic, mechanical or pneumatic devices. Over the past few decades the number of software features and the associated code has grown exponentially and the respective embedded software systems have reached a level of complexity that is increasingly difficult to manage. As a consequence, recalls due to software defects have become a major concern and today constitute about 50% of the overall warranty cost. Since the operation of automobiles has severe public safety implications the development of embedded automotive software has become subject to stringent functional safety standards (ISO 26262) and compliance with these standards has become a major hurdle in the development of automotive software.
This paper outlines a tool-based solution that satisfies an important subset of functional safety standards via built-in intelligence. The solution marks a major step towards an agile, safety compliant development process that does not impose restrictions regarding product innovation. The core concept of this tool-based solution is centralized architecture and data management. By way of this concept, the tool-based solution detects and prevents interface and data inconsistencies not only during the software development process but throughout the life-cycle of the software product.