New vehicle functions, such as autonomous driving, connected vehicles, electrification of the powertrain, and shared mobility are significant drivers of the annual automotive software (SW) growth rate.
These SWs are increasingly complex with a high level of interaction. This also leads to greater complexity from a testing point of view to guarantee safety.
During the development phase, the SWs are released for experimental vehicle use for calibration, validation, and quality fleet activities.
Whenever a new SW is released, before downloading it on the vehicles, Software Road readiness activities are necessary to ensure that safety requirements are met.
A test plan has to be defined considering the different project phases, test location(s), and driver experience as well as considering the software, calibration, and hardware maturity knowledge. Also of great importance is the level of protection available on the vehicle (E-Stop and/or hardware and software safety mechanisms). E-Stop is an incorporated button with the aim of mitigating certain risks in experimental vehicles. It acts as a safety mechanism activated by the driver to mitigate a hazard by removing all power sources (electric, combustion engine, hydraulic and pneumatic). The E-Stop provides a physical intervention and not a software interruption.
There are tests required for the On Property closed course, Off Property trained driver, and Off Property general driver.
The maneuvers defined in the test cases are performed on a HIL system (Hardware in the Loop). The main checks are aimed to avoid any unwanted acceleration downstream of maneuvers or fail conditions.
All of the evidence produced through the Software road readiness process should be organized, reviewed, and approved before the vehicles are energized and used for testing.
Kineton has been committed to testing the SW Road Readiness for Tier 1 car makers for PHEV, MHEV, and BEV applications for a couple of years. The development, execution of test cases, and discussion of results are carefully covered by our team to ensure SW and vehicle safety.
Once the software is fully safe, it is put to work on the vehicle.
Remember, safety first of all.