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Software Quality Competition Speeds Up in Smart Car Era
Software Safety
Software Quality Competition Speeds Up in Smart Car Era
  • By matthew
  • June 26, 2014, 08:52
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Consumers try out the next-gen smart car technology of Kia Motors at CES 2014, which kicked off in Las Vegas on January 7.
Consumers try out the next-gen smart car technology of Kia Motors at CES 2014, which kicked off in Las Vegas on January 7.

 

As the automobile industry is being digitalized and requiring more networking, safety regulations of software becoming stricter. As a result, major automobile component manufacturers are competing fiercely to obtain ISO 26252, the international automobile software and electronics standard safety criteria.

According to the software industry on June 24, more and more Korean automobile component manufacturers are acquiring the international standard criteria ISO 26262.

Automobile companies are facing unexpected problems as the industry is becoming digitalized. Honda recalled 646,000 cars due to malfunctioning window switches in 2010, and Toyota also had engine throttle defects due to Camry’s software trouble in 2005. Many other automakers are having various software problems as well. Since cars are always exposed outside and closely related to safety, even a small deficiency could lead to big accidents.

One of the primary reasons for the above problems is enhanced complexity due to the rapid increase of automobile electronic control units (ECUs). The number of ECUs increased to 60 in 2010, compared to 14 in 1995. Communication modules also increased to 30. An increased number of ECUs and communication modules added complexity and interference between each function. The digitalized portion of car components was only 20 percent in the 1990s, but is now 35-40 percent.

In order to solve these problems, the automobile industry created a guideline to avoid and control the risks potentially expected from malfunctioning electric and electronic systems, and this is included in ISO 26262.

Currently, more than 27 automakers and automobile components manufacturers in 10 countries are developing cars and components based on ISO 26262. They are also controlling the overall safety procedures from the initial development stage to final disposal. Although ISO 26262 is not a requirement for automobile manufacturing, Daimler and Volkswagen are demanding their subcontracting component manufacturers to obtain ISO 26262, and they are expanding their demand.

Among Korean automobile component manufacturers, Hyundai Mobis, Mando, and MDS Technology have acquired ISO 26262. One employee at MDS Technology said, “Safety and technology standards of ECUs are critical to secure automobile safety.” He went on to say, “The automobile industry needs to have ISO 26262 ready for safety of software which is getting more and more complicated in coming smart car era.”