Increasing comfort, safety and security of automobiles

Developing in-vehicle electronic systems with IBM Rational software

Published on 03-Mar-2011

"We will continue to rely on IBM tools, as they help us to be more efficient. We especially anticipate further benefits from introducing IBM Rational Rhapsody TestConductor for automated testing." - Gervin Fadda, Body & Security business unit, Continental Automotive Group

Customer:
Continental Automotive

Industry:
Automotive

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Application Design-Build-Manage, Development & Technology Adoption

Overview

Continental Automotive Group, one of the world’s leading automotive industry suppliers, develops a variety of in-vehicle electronic systems. Its Body & Security business unit specialises in body control units, LED light control, power closing, seat comfort systems, battery and energy management, antenna modules, tyre monitoring, and access control systems.

Business need:
Continental Automotive Group wanted to establish an advanced platform for the development of automotive electronic systems such as body control units and keyless automobile access control systems.

Solution:
Continental deployed an integrated development environment leveraging model-driven systems development based on IBM Rational software solutions.

Benefits:
Increased development efficiency through introducing better ways to structure, analyse and communicate the architecture and design of the complex in-vehicle systems that Continental delivers.

Case Study

To read a German version of this case study, please click here.

Products for smarter automobiles

Continental Automotive Group, one of the world’s leading automotive industry suppliers, develops a variety of in-vehicle electronic systems. Its Body & Security business unit specialises in body control units, LED light control, power closing, seat comfort systems, battery and energy management, antenna modules, tyre monitoring, and access control systems.

The Body & Security unit works closely with automotive manufacturers worldwide to help them equip today’s automobiles with new and innovative features, making them safer and more secure, with enhanced comfort and reduced environmental impact; in other words “making them smart”.

Remote keyless entry and ignition systems developed by the Continental Body & Security business unit are good examples of how the combination of mechanics, sensor technology, electronic hardware and embedded software can create “smarter automobiles”. Within the latest generation of remote keyless entry and ignition systems, also known as passive start and entry systems (PASE), the key works without actually having to be held. The automobile “knows” when the key comes close and can automatically unlock the door if the driver touches the handle. Bidirectional keys with inbuilt displays provide additional information about the current vehicle status - whether it is locked or unlocked, whether the lights are on or off, what the fuel level is, and much more. Further, with this key the driver can remotely control in-vehicle systems like heaters and air-conditioning or the sun-roof, by making use of the latest wireless technology for data transmission.

Development of these Continental products is a challenging task; schedules are tight because of time-to-market pressures, and the complexity of systems and products constantly increases. On the other hand, high quality is a mandatory requirement, safety is of high importance, and continuous system availability must be ensured.

The need for an integrated development environment

Until recently, the engineering teams of the Body & Security unit had been using a growing number of different and mostly independent development tools, which had contributed to a highly fragmented engineering environment. The challenge was to avoid engineering information being spread across many sources, making it difficult to find and access. Geographically dispersed teams (and the resulting synchronization issues) made the challenge even bigger. In addition new emerging standards like AUTOSAR needed to be supported.

Starting in 2007, the Continental Body & Security business unit made a decision that paved the way for the success of its product development. Body & Security began to introduce IBM Rational Rhapsody as a central engineering tool and as an integration framework to support a model-driven systems and software development paradigm.

IBM Rational Rhapsody is a visual development environment for systems engineers and software developers who create real-time or embedded systems and software. Rational Rhapsody helps diverse teams collaborate to understand and map out requirements, and reduces complexity using industry standard visual modeling languages such as SysML, UML and AUTOSAR. It provides different views of system and software models that help to connect workflows and information that were formerly isolated. IBM Rational Rhapsody covers the entire electronic and electric (E/E) automotive domain, as it allows the specification of E/E vehicle architectures as well as the design of single electronic control units and the modeling and generation of the embedded software in both its static and dynamic properties.

The Continental Body & Security business unit was already using IBM Rational DOORS for capturing, managing and exchanging requirements with its clients. Rhapsody’s integration with DOORS provides traceability between system/product requirements and enables easy management of the architectural design and implementation. Traceability and coverage reports provide insight into which requirements have already been designed, implemented, tested, and which have not.

Furthermore the open interfaces of Rhapsody have allowed Continental to integrate other tools under the Rhapsody umbrella, including version control and configuration management tools, and other third-party products.

“IBM Rational DOORS and Rational Rhapsody allow us to better manage the complex architectures of our products, and help us to prevent our development environment from becoming fragmented,” comments Gervin Fadda, Body & Security business unit, Continental Automotive Group.

Greater efficiency, assured quality

By implementing the Rational software, Continental’s Body & Security unit has been able to prevent its development tool set from becoming fragmented. The new environment, based on IBM Rational Rhapsody, has increased the efficiency of the development teams by providing the right information in a structured way, and leveraging the advantages of a model-driven systems and software development approach.

This approach allows the Body & Security business unit to better analyse, document and communicate the complex interactions and relationships within the Continental systems and products, both internally and with clients. The improved management of the system and product architectures and their variants has enabled Continental to increase reuse of assets within different product families.

Today, the model-driven system and software development paradigm is also used for building prototypes and performing early simulation and validation, making it easier for Continental to discuss solutions with potential clients in order to win business worldwide.

Currently, IBM Rational Rhapsody is being used in 12 projects, including several projects that leverage AUTOSAR technology. The rollout of Rhapsody to other projects and teams is ongoing. Nearly all projects and engineers at Continental’s Body & Security business unit are already using IBM Rational DOORS for requirements engineering.

Encouraged by the good results achieved so far, Continental Body & Security is now looking at adding new Rational software capabilities, such as model-driven testing. “We will continue to rely on IBM tools, as they help us to be more efficient,” says Gervin Fadda. “We especially anticipate further benefits from introducing IBM Rational Rhapsody TestConductor for automated testing.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
Rational Rhapsody, Rational DOORS

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011. IBM Deutschland GmbH, 71137 Ehningen, Deutschland. ibm.com/de. IBM Österreich, Obere Donaustrasse 95, 1020 Wien. ibm.com/at. IBM Schweiz, Vulkanstrasse 106, 8010 Zürich. ibm.com/ch. Produced in Germany. February 2011. All Rights Reserved. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and Rational are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at http://www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.