The complexity of software systems in vehicles is constantly growing. With the trend of hardware and software separation, carmakers tend to divide infotainment systems into two areas:
- Hardware platform: Provided by Tier 1 suppliers and hardware manufacturers, the hardware becomes a commodity.
- Software platform: Defines the feature set and user experience of a system. It evolves over multiple generations and is reused over generations and across brands.
EB Automotive as the software prime contractor
EB manages large and complex software projects that involve multiple sites, sub-suppliers, and partners on a global scale. We take a central role in making the separation of hardware and software work for carmakers. We believe in transparency. The better a carmaker understands the technology and the project setup, the better we’ll jointly be able to make decisions that lead to project success. Having a joint team where the carmaker’s employees work alongside EB teams is good for transparency. Continuous Integration and agile approaches allow for immediate feedback so decision makers can assess project progress and steer efforts in the right direction. As the software prime contractor, EB drives the project through these phases:
- Planning. We start discussions early to define a realistic, achievable project scope. Working with the carmaker, we create a plan to leverage strengths and avoid typical risks. We address technical challenges as well as the business model, and matters of capacity as well as the partner network.
- Project setup and processes. We set up complex software projects using proven processes, and we apply modern methods like agile methodology and the Elektrobit Lean Development Model (LDM). We can engage multiple EB teams for a global footprint and work with international development partners and sub-suppliers. Combining LDM and Automotive SPICE, we tailor our proven process framework to the specific needs of each customer project.
- Project infrastructure. We believe that starting with a state-of-the-art project infrastructure for collaboration and tooling is crucial to developing large, complex software systems on time, at quality, and within budget. So EB invests in specific tools, like EB RACE, and infrastructure to enable reliable and highly automated development processes that guarantee short turn-around times.
- Software architecture, development, and integration. With more than 30 years of embedded and automotive software experience, we excel at designing systems that are future-proofed and extendable. Our architectures define major change-points and ensure that the resulting infotainment products have a long life. With our own development teams and a large partner network, we implement and integrate features according to the specific customer requirements, leveraging the best solutions from open source as well as commercial systems. Immediate feedback via continuous integration and continuous delivery enables transparency with our customers.
- Software and system testing. Our goal is to deliver high-quality software for complex software systems and to ensure production readiness. We take responsibility for the integration with hardware platforms, mobile devices, and connectivity services. To ensure quality, we use a significant number of automated tests, as well as our independent test teams. Our tooling ensures traceability from requirements and architecture, through implementation and down to testing and test results.
Software ownership and open source
Software reuse provides a number of benefits when implemented over multiple hardware platforms, generations, markets, and brands. EB is open to discussing ways to achieve this. We can design a system for software reuse through commercial products, through open source software, or via software ownership by the carmaker. In most cases the best solution involves EB architects working together with our customers in the intelligent combination of all three options. EB as the software prime contractor generates benefits:
- Greater reuse of software, which saves resources and increases quality
- Software ownership for carmakers and the competitive advantage that derives from it
- Incremental increase in features
- Fast reaction to market requirements
- Shorter update cycles
- Constantly improving software quality
- Enablement of comparable hardware quotations by Tier 1s and supplier selection based on the best price, instead of technical lock-in
- Prevention of vendor lock-in by enabling second-source strategies
Integration with other products
We offer maintenance, tracking, and validation of third-party software and customer-developed software.