DSA adds more transparency to the life cycle of vehicle electronics

The increased complexity of vehicle electronics presents a major challenge to both established OEMs working on new electronic platforms and for start-ups developing innovative vehicle concepts. In addition, new regulations such as the UN ECE for a Software Update Management System (SUMS), which comes into force in 2022, and new technology standards such as Firmware Update Over-the-Air (FOTA) need to be met appropriately.

A Life cycle management system (LCM), in which the configuration data as well as the individual firmware versions and subsequent software updates are documented and made available for development, production and after-sales, makes it easier for all parties involved to always keep the vehicle electronics at the proper up-to-date status. Thus, OEMs and start-ups ensure that they always offer their customers the comfort and safety that is expected as a service today.

With up to 100 different Electronic Control Units (ECUs) from different suppliers and with widely differing characteristics, the modern vehicle electronics is akin to a large IT server centrum instead of the original physical-electric control systems. The advent of the vehicle as a software-defined product has added further challenges for the data management and distribution of firmware and parametrization options.

The data creation and traceability of necessary changes is the domain of a Product Life Cycle Management system. These systems excel in the collaborative aspect of vehicle design and include the complete spectrum of physical parts and support for Computer-Aided Design (CAD).

However, most systems in the market do not address the complexity related to ECU firmware versions, software updates and configuration management for the function software. Therefore, Engineering, Manufacturing and Workshop Operations create their own local solutions to handle these issues.

This disconnection creates a lack of traceability of changes and increases the risk of transcription errors. DSA’s Lifecycle Management Solution PRODIS.LCM covers all aspects of a vehicle’s electronics lifecycle starting with the initial development to the maintenance of the vehicle after its sold.

PRODIS.LCM supports OEMs in meeting the upcoming UN ECE regulations for software update management. In particular, challenges such as the consideration of technical and type approval dependencies of ECUs during the planning and implementation of software updates are taken into account by PRODIS.LCM and created in a traceable and auditable history. Current technology standards such as software update over-the-air are also supported in compliance with all safety-relevant rules.

PRODIS.LCM complements existing product lifecycle management solutions by integrating with them and adding the automotive aspects like dependencies between ECU for firmware and parameterization together with the vast variance of different option packages.

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