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Reaching Automotive SPICE® Level 3 and Beyond with ALM

On 14 October 2020, Intland Software’s Functional Safety Expert Szabolcs Agai gave a talk at the MethodPark Process Insights USA virtual conference. This post provides a summary of his talk, exploring how Application Lifecycle Management supports the delivery of automotive technology in compliance with the standards ISO 26262 and ASPICE.

We’ve come a long way since the first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line. Cars then were purely mechanical products in nature, whereas today, they are highly (some would even argue mostly) electrical and electronic, with various aspects of a modern vehicle powered by software and complex pieces of technology.

Complexity and safety in automotive innovation

In addition to the growing complexity of the subsystems themselves, the value chain has gotten more complex as well. The various layers of components (mechanical, hardware, software, service, and others) are contributed by a wide range of companies. Complexity is distributed as parts and products cascade through a chain of Tier 1…n suppliers.

Automotive development complexity - Reaching Automotive SPICE® Level 3 and Beyond with ALM

The purpose of standardization in the automotive industry is to ensure safety and quality in electronics design across the chain of contributors. Standards are necessary because in carmaking as much as anywhere else, errors are a fact of life. The two main types of errors considered by automakers:

Random errors: These we can calculate, estimate, and plan for. The primary means of controlling them include various safety analysis methods (DFMEA, PFMEA, FMEDA, DFA etc, overall accounted for by ISO 26262).

Systematic errors: The results of errors in software or hardware design are failures that, sooner or later, will occur with 100% probability. Process control measures in ASPICE and ISO 26262 help make sure these errors are considered and managed through the process of development.

How ISO 26262 and ASPICE relate

Overall, the main difference between ISO 26262 “Road vehicles – Functional safety” and Automotive SPICE is that the former focuses on safety approaches, whereas ASPICE zooms in on processes.

Essentially, ISO 26262 advises carmakers on how to design for safety. ASPICE, on the other hand, covers how design is conducted if safety is not a concern. Naturally, in order to develop safe and useful products, developers of automotive technology need to operate in the area where these two overlap.

Functional Safety Compliance – Reaching Automotive SPICE® Level 3 and Beyond with ALM

Adhering to ASPICE and ISO 26262

Besides compliance simply being required by regulatory bodies in certain cases, carmakers have various reasons to adhere to the guidelines of these two automotive standards. By applying ASPICE and ISO 26262, they will be able to:

  • Deliver products faster
  • Have less customer complaints
  • Better satisfy customer needs (both as suppliers and OEMs)
  • Increase their profitability
  • Manage more complex innovation projects

Due to the level of sophistication involved, compliance with the requirements of these standards is far from straightforward and requires adequate tooling. Using automotive-specific development tools enables transparency in design processes. Using specialized software platforms helps digitalize process control for more thorough Quality Assurance, and manage intelligent, digital work products throughout the automotive product delivery lifecycle. Such tools can also contribute to better collaboration between suppliers and OEMs.

In order for a tool to fit the automotive development environment, processes, methods, and practices have to be broken down into and mapped to roles, activities, and workflow stages. These will influence the collaborative workflows to be implemented. By being broken down the same way, work products can be turned into intelligent design contents that may then be managed digitally throughout the lifecycle.

Using an automotive Application Lifecycle Management tool such as codeBeamer ALM holds many advantages for carmakers and mobility suppliers. Such a tool can help:

  • Improve organizational learning through process prototyping
  • Digitalize and automate certain manual and administrative tasks to save resources, and thereby
  • Let development teams focus on value-added activities
  • Motivate engineers by focusing on, monitoring, and asserting engineering excellence
  • Enhance product quality, reduce recalls, increase customer satisfaction

Browse through the slides of Szabolcs Agai’s functional safety presentation at Process Insights USA on 14 Oct 2020 below. Have any questions about the role of ALM in automotive systems delivery? Reach out to us directly!