Supplier Spotlight

Show Reviews

Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2017 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2016 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2015 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo North America 2014 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo India 2014 Show Review

Click here to read


Latest Video

Groupe Renault reveals Symbioz prototype


Symbioz features Level 4 automation and will be used by Renault to test and develop autonomous vehicle functions and technologies

Click here to watch the video

TRI's next-gen automated research vehicle


Engineers explain their goals for Platform 3.0, which included to radically increase the car's sensor capabilities

Click here to watch the video

Will dynamic watermarks be the solution to cyber attack threats on autonomous vehicles?

Industry Opinion

« back to blog listings

It takes two to tango

Tomorrow’s cars will demand software and product engineering combined, says Derek Piette, product manager for application lifecycle management and product lifecycle management integration, at Siemens PLM Software.

Software is increasingly part of our daily lives – it’s embedded in the products we use every day. Modern cars have 100 times as much code as the F-22 fighter jet, and that number keeps going up thanks to connected in-car services and the move to autonomous and hybrid and electric vehicles.

A decade ago, software accounted for less than 20% of the cost of a vehicle and did little to differentiate one model from another. Now 80% of all product innovation and differentiation comes from the combination of software, electronics and electrical systems, according to Daimler.

To bring together the different application and product lifecycle management worlds, software development tools need to be tightly integrated into the product process. Here they need to let developers code in an environment they can collaborate in and be productive in.

The interactions between software and other product functionality means that smart products can have far more complex defects. For example, imagine having new navigation software installed on a car only to find that this update has disabled the button on the vehicle dashboard that opens the garage door.

Software problems go well beyond simple annoyances though. Vehicle recalls and warranty claims are expensive and they’re on the rise – in 2016, a record 927 recall campaigns took 53.2 million vehicles off the road in the USA alone with software issues increasingly to blame. Problems range from a security flaw in an entertainment system to software bugs that caused the doors to open unexpectedly.

Before 2011, it was rare for 5% of vehicle recalls to be caused by software issues; by 2015, almost 15% were software related. The figures are even worse in other industries – in 2014, 24% of medical device recalls were because of software.

A decade ago one could get away with designing a product and then developing the software to power it because it was an isolated component. Now that electromechanical systems are integrated and interconnected this is no longer sustainable; integration needs to start at the very beginning of a design.

Integration means understanding the relationship between different modules. Change requests during the product development cycle must now be analyzed for their impact on both software and hardware components, and the implementation of those changes needs to be coordinated between teams to streamline operations. Minor differences in hardware can significantly affect software performance, so one needs to be able to ensure the right balance of software and hardware.

Traceability across different product systems – from the source data for all the different variants – is key to managing dependencies between systems, producing accurate bills of materials to build from, and to track and understand why decisions were taken and any problems that arose.

As we move to a world of mass customization, driven by the shift toward additive manufacturing processes like 3D printing, tracking the exact combination of hardware and software components in a product will be vital for service and support. Rapid prototyping will become the norm, shortening the hardware development cycle. These trends will make integrating software and hardware development with tools like digital twins even more important.

A digital twin of the physical components that integrates with software management tools will give a living product version that can make manufacturing and support far more flexible and responsive, but it will only work if the correct collaborative tools are in place.

If one is not thinking that far ahead, integrating software and hardware development can have a significant impact on the bottom line very quickly. By knowing which hardware and software components are used in which variants of specific vehicle programs in different territories around the world, down to the individual vehicle identification number, Ford was able to update electronic control units with software issues in the field instead of replacing the hardware. Over three years, that saved the company US$100m in warranty costs – a great payoff for a system that also increases customer satisfaction.

October 12, 2017



There are currently no comments.

If you would like to post a comment about this blog, please click here.
Read Latest Issue
Read Latest Issue

Your email address:

Web Exclusives

Keep it on the hush

Volvo uses LMS Test.Lab software to better understand the source of noise emissions
Click here to read more

Improved leakage testing

New technology from Sensing Precision helps reduce potential bottlenecks in production associated with cabin leakage testing
Click here to read more

Ford's plans to return home

Key autonomous and electric vehicle business and strategy teams are be moved to the city where the Blue Oval began its life
Click here to read more

Safer analysis of onboard chargers

How Keysight's compact, two-quadrant, regenerative power converter test solution with integrated safety features accelerates test time, and protects both users and devices under test
Click here to read more

SEAT uses HBM autonomous DAQ system

SEAT and Polytechnic University of Catalonia (BarcelonaTech) have jointly developed a unique data acquisition enabling more precise control over instrumented parts and the entire data acquisition process  
Click here to read more

Supplier Spotlight

Supplier SpotlightClick here for listings and information on leading suppliers covering all aspects of the automotive testing industry. Want to see your company included? Contact for more details.

Submit your industry opinion

Industry BlogDo you have an opinion you'd like to share with the automotive testing community? Good or bad, we'd like to hear your views and opinions on the leading issues shaping the industry. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to


Recruitment AdTo receive information on booking an advertising banner please email