ECU Consolidation in Tomorrow’s Connected and Autonomous Car

Software drives the electronic control units (ECUs) that power everything in the car, from dashboard instruments to safety features to power train components to in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. The functions performed by ECUs are also becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex. New features and capabilities such as adaptive cruise control, digital instrument clusters, and car-to-car or car-tofleet communication are great for consumers, but they add complexity to an already difficult software development and testing process.

Each ECU also has its own infrastructure components (such as power supply, bus, and diagnostics) and its own requirements with regard to functionality, safety, security, and dynamic behavior, requiring the use of multiple platforms and toolsets for development and testing. In addition, ECUs may have differing Automotive Safety Integrity Levels (ASILs) and ISO 26262 requirements.

Selecting from among the array of proprietary and open source development, testing, and management options further complicates matters. How do you test and debug with all these permutations and complex interactions and interdependencies? How do you meet certification requirements in this environment?

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