Software engineering and automotive engineering are both related fields that one can venture in, but are there any distinguishing factors?
In basic software engineering, it’s a rare case to find the important topical sections or area that portray the characteristics of automotive engineering. What comes into our minds is the high rate of prototyping, incredible cost pressures and piece counts, testing and validation in real-time circumstances. In addition to this, there is the adaptation of various vehicle models and implementation of digit calculation.
In detail, automotive software refers to embedded systems. This is because the software is an element of the electro-mechanical process that needs to be modeled within this framework. We have two opposing factors that collide in automotive field namely, mass production output and safety-critical output which result to a huge cost pressure. Contrary to the method used by aviation and space exploration, automotive software is enhanced for bargain-priced processors. In addition to reasons listed above, the mastery of an important step during development known as the implementation of integer arithmetic which has ceased to play a role in informatics by the toolchain being engaged is a compulsory requirement.
Software engineering needs to accommodate the features of the vehicle development process. The development process will finally conclude with the in-vehicle standardization of parameter setting during a road test whereby many vehicle functions must be tested in intensive road trials where a given function must be available as a real-time experience in the shortest time scope possible. Also, the topic of prototyping plays an important role in automotive software engineering.
Does the preparation offered by colleges to students aiming for a career in software development in the automotive industry of quality?
Because software was always closely meshed with hardware, one of the domains of electronic engineering is the development of automotive electronics . What has turned software application into an item of interest to computer scientists is the introduction of abstract software layers that causes an increasingly unique decoupling of automotive software from relevant hardware. There is a greater lack of computer science curriculums specializing in the subject of automotive software engineering. A similar case exists in electrical engineering curriculum whereby finding one that teaches software engineering as a discipline would really be an exception.
Just as my colleagues at the purported FZI, the Karlsruhe Research Center for Information Technologies, I also see the lack of enough courses in the college-level curriculums, courses that would have otherwise equipped students with the adequate skills and knowledge to propel them smoothly through their corresponding future profession. For this particular reason, I will lecture on Automotive Software Engineering, being one of the first, at the Landshut University of Applied Sciences during the summer semester.
Is the subject of this lecture passing out a message that there is still positive employment chances in this particular field?
There has been a rising demand for automotive software developers as compared to the computer scientists who are finding it hard to land on good job opportunities due to the fact that the earlier internet boom collapsed and now things are different. As a matter of fact, those students who majored in embedded systems in their prospective colleges will enjoy this opportunity even in the coming future. It’s even becoming more interesting as time goes by due to its perception on hardware.
I will ensure I make a great effort to ensure I counter the anxieties that do exist starting this semester. Virtually E/E suppliers, also conquer with this view since they have realized that automotive software engineering is an essential subject in the mastery of the electronics development processes. There are benefits to reap for those students trained particularly in this field. They are in great demand, this I say from the fact that I have already been contacted by major firms seeking for these students.
In order to control engineering process will particularly need foundation built with the use of the right and suitable tools. Does this also imply it is a necessity in automotive engineering?
Adequate tools would support the whole development process, however, they should be suited for the job. Take for instance a bus driver trying to find out the exact speed of the vehicle on the road. A driving test could help but it will only concentrate on the physical perspective. It would be appropriate to apply the use of a tool that would give a good number of views of one and the same information. If the tool or tools applied can give such a result they will be accepted by all participating disciplines.
Where do I get the tools then? That should not be a worry because the market has a variety of tools from different producers. The only problem here is that most of them are multipurpose tools designed so as to cover a good number of applications all at the same time. Thus few will be specially made to cater for the specific automotive software requirements. To counter this the ETAS is a group that provides an outstanding coverage of those automotive software requirements.
Are there emerging trends that need to be observed when it comes to automotive software engineering?
Custom software development in automobiles will continuously grow bit by bit. This is evident from the efforts being made to reduce the number of electronic control units in vehicles currently being made. Efforts are being doubled up to replace mechanical systems with their electronic counterparts. With time, the distinction between hardware and software will bring about a great significance to the subject automotive software and make it an independent engineering discipline.
Furthermore, the differentiation amongst vehicle manufacturers will be based advanced software on the other hand basic software and hardware will be subject to increasing standardization. What does this mean? Well, it’s simple the structure vehicles in future will no longer be established on function but on the contrary they will be module-oriented for example indoor control units that are composed of a multitude of different sub-functions.
Coming up and having such distributed developments will, however, be one of the greatest challenges in the future. Even though eventually they will be met but it will be through a consistent application of automotive software engineering.