Continental Aims at Easier Automotive Software Development

Continental is hoping to make automotive software development easier for carmaker, supplier and third-party engineers.

The Tier 1 supplier has expanded its development toolbox, the future virtual ECU Creator software (vECU Creator) to help engineers configure and run virtual cloud-based electronic control units in their specific development environments to help develop code for micro-controller and processor hardware that does not yet exist. The virtual ECU Creator is part of the Continental Automotive Edge (CAEdge) framework, which runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

By using cloud-based vECUs, new applications or software features for software-defined vehicles (SDV) can be built by automakers faster, more efficiently and in a more agile way. That allows future developments to be tested and debugged continuously by engineers within the cloud, at the same time as hardware development and production cycles.

Until now, there were no comprehensive tools for developers at automotive manufacturers and system suppliers to simulate, in the cloud, the performance of digital features and confirm compatibility across existing or new car lines prior to general hardware availability, leading to increased risk prior to launch. According to industry statistics fixing issues in late stages can be 10 times or more expensive.

The virtual ECU Creator brings together Continental’s computers and Electronic Control Units, with Elektrobit’s software for Classic and Adaptive AUTOSAR. Gilles Mabire, CTO at Continental Automotive, said: “A great vehicle relies on both quality hardware and software. Our virtual ECU Creator will make it easy for our software experts to work in parallel, enabling us to create applications for the software-defined vehicle that enhance the driver’s safety and experience.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_  and Threads

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