The first fruits of Siemens’ 2015 acquisition of application lifecycle management (ALM) tool developer Polarion came to bear in a new Integrated Software Engineering solution for the automotive industry intended to address critical product development challenges stemming from the explosive growth of embedded software in today’s increasingly smart, connected, self-aware and situationally aware vehicles. For background on the acquisition, see our ALM-PLM integration challenges and opportunities.
By integrating ALM software with product lifecycle management (PLM) software, Siemens’ aim is to deliver a solution to help automakers seamlessly manage the inherently different engineering lifecycles of electromechanical systems and of the software used to control them. Key benefits:
- Unites ALM with PLM.
- Integrates embedded software and physical systems development.
- Improves automotive product quality, software robustness and traceability.
- Quality improvement aims to significantly reduce software-related recalls.
The goal is to help automotive engineering organizations enhance software functionality and traceability, and at the same time improve overall product quality and reduce automotive recalls associated with embedded software. Siemens said this will be the first in a series of announcements about the family of Digital Enterprise Industry Solutions developed by Siemens’ PLM Software business.
“As cars get more sophisticated—with features like collision avoidance, automatic parallel parking, and the advent of self-driving, autonomous vehicles—the need for software to control these functions will continue to accelerate, resulting in increased challenges for product development,” said Siemens PLM Software vice president of automotive and transportation Dave Lauzun. “By integrating ALM and its ability to manage the embedded software development process with PLM’s capacity to manage physical systems, Siemens is providing a way for automotive companies to more rapidly, efficiently and accurately develop the robust and high-quality mechatronic systems that will power the future of transportation.”
Challenges of synchronizing ALM and PLM
Managing embedded software development in close synchronization with the development of physical systems is a big challenge for automotive companies, Siemens observes. Due to their respective natures, product engineering and software engineering follow inherently different development lifecycles. Software development is managed separately, and interface validation with hardware is done only at predefined checkpoints.
Most automotive programs are managed on a three- to five-year cycle, Siemens explains. They follow a gate-based development paradigm with strict checkpoints and certifications. Software development, on the other hand, is incredibly fast-paced, as it follows agile processes where collaboration and rapid innovation are key. Typically, development of mechanical, electrical and electronic systems is managed within product lifecycle management (PLM) tools, while software development is managed with application lifecycle management (ALM) tools. The challenge is to combine these two inherently different product development methodologies. Software and hardware engineers working on their respective ALM and PLM applications must be able to access information across all lifecycle-related processes.
Spiraling vehicle complexity “exposing deficiencies of current processes, tools and methods”
“In an era of smart-connected cars, the interactions between software and physical systems are increasingly becoming more complex, exposing deficiencies of current processes, tools and methods,” Siemens pointedly, and correctly, observes. “A Digital Twin of vehicle systems capable of representing the complete physical and digital behavior of today’s IoT-connected cars is necessary to realize innovations.”
The company says its Integrated Software Engineering solution for the automotive industry “finally moves embedded software development into its proper place as an integral part of the full product lifecycle. This move is essential for automotive companies to thrive in the face of rapidly changing technologies, providing a new level of agility in automotive product development.”
Over the next several months, Siemens PLM Software says it will be launching a series of announcements about its Digital Enterprise Industry Solutions aimed at addressing pressing business needs for a wide variety of industries.
Siemens Integrated Software Engineering solution: https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en/automotive-transportation/automotive-software-development/index.cfm