The annual Mathworks Automotive Conference (MAC) was held in Stuttgart on last April, 11th. Among other 450 industry experts, IDNEO attended to keep up with the state of the art on Model Based Design (MBD) and its associated tooling. This is a field in which Matlab and Simulink are a “de facto” industry standard.

At the conference, a mix experts from Mathworks and other renowned companies presented interesting content along the well-established automotive “mega-trends”. In this case, it was all about Autonomous Driving (AD) and Vehicle Electrification, both of which intensively require of simulation methods and tooling for successful deployment. Indeed, simulation is nowadays on its way to be accepted as a valid methodology for software testing towards vehicle homologation! The motivation is simple, if we want AD technology to be completely validated and error-free, it is virtually impossible to test for all possible dreaded scenarios in real vehicle operation. Thus, extensive simulation-based testing is the only suitable approach to achieve high coverage validation.

Besides the pure technical side, the industry shift towards agile methodologies was also a bottom line throughout all the conference talks. On one hand, development projects are increasingly getting more and more complex. On the other hand, development time and budget are constantly decreasing. Those two factors are in clear contradiction, and present a huge challenge for traditional development processes. Here, there are two significant contributions from Mathworks’ products that help solving for this puzzle.

The first important methodology is based on the simulation capability. By means of Model Based Design, early validation can be conducted, reducing very much the validation and expenses associated to testing in real physical systems. MBD also contributes to improve communication by establishing a common understanding of system’s behavior that goes well further than traditional natural language specification.

Secondly, automation is crucial if development time needs to be shortened. For this, Mathworks’ tools are very relevant since they allow to automatically perform several development tasks ranging from code generation to test management, including high quality documentation generation.

Finally, it was a general consensus that the high level of complexity the automotive industry is currently facing can only be tackled from collaboration and adhesion to standards. Collaboration is mandatory in order to take benefit of everyone’s core competences. But collaboration is only possible if a common ground for understanding is available. Here is where standards such as Automotive SPICE or ISO26262 can provide such a significant help. Nonetheless, this is very aligned with IDNEO’s partnership program (recently partnered with Kudelski and Accenture); as well as with our deployment of development standards, for which we were officially certified for a managed SPICE process during last December. Thus, we find ourselves in a very good position to take part of the exciting industry evolution by contributing to efficiently solve its challenges.