Embedded Development and the Reduction of Automotive Risk

Automobile software development is built around standards like ISO 26262 and MISRA. Some companies think that complying with these standards is a burden. The truth is if an embedded device fails, the resulting costs will be much greater than if the company had ensured quality in the first place.  So companies must not only measure how much it cost to develop a software for an automobile but also how much it costs, if the software were to fail.

Modern cars are very complex. Software plays a critical role in these cars. For instance, they control important safety functions. The average mid-size car contains hundreds of electronic control units, processing millions of lines of code between them. Some people think that as the lines of code increase, the risk of accident also increases. This is not necessarily true. More code does not translate into more complexity.

The problem arises when automobile companies try to integrate code from different platforms into a new platform. Companies rarely engineer and build all components from the start. They take parts which have worked well in other cars and integrate them into the new car. It can lead to unexpected and unintended results. That is why embedded developers have to be careful when they are developing applications for automobiles.