By Christoph Hammerschmidt, Embedded.com
Jun 4 2007 (9:00 AM)
Stuttgart, Germany -- The pursuit of different options within the Autosar automotive-software platform is leading to software incompatibilities that could undermine the standard's high-level goals, according to experts. That would be ironic, because Autosar was set up by automotive OEMs and their tier-one suppliers to control the complexity and diversity in their vehicles' software.
The main idea behind the Autosar standard, presently available in version 2.1, is to uncouple software-implemented functions from the vehicle's microcontrollers and electronic control unit (ECU) hardware through an intermediate and strictly defined layer. The Autosar Consortium is aiming not only to standardize critical system functions but also to create a platform that allows the integration of software from different vendors, increasing the efficiency of the overall industry.
But at the dawn of the implementation phase, the first obstacles are appearing in the developers' windshields. One major question is which version of the standard should be implemented. During the standard creation process, many participants--OEMs as well as tier-one supplier companies--lobbied to get functions included that not all consortium members were interested in. For example, the standard provides three possibilities as to when in the design process developers must commit to a specific communications strategy. The strategy that defines communications topologies and the protocols to be used by an ECU can be determined either at precompile time--with the effect that the ECU running the respective software will be communicating in a fixed way--or at link time, allowing some flexibility.
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