Fundamentals – What is AUTOSAR? – Part 1

This article is geared towards mitigating the initial brain fog in understanding the AUTOSAR concept, and further discussing the capabilities and shortcoming of the ubiquitous AUTOSAR is.

Embedded software development in automotive industry is very different from typical software development scenarios in domains such as web development, windows-based application programming and so on. One of my former colleague Viktor Shepik as aptly described the automotive SW development situation in one of his blog posts. As Viktor rightfully mentions in the post, a software engineer is shocked when he/she steps into automotive software development, and IMHO it may come to some as an understatement.

Technical terms are domain specific jargons, compilers are tweaked and overhauled, rules of programming are stringent. Moreover experienced engineers aren’t either willing or don’t have the patience or time to share their vast accumulated knowledge with an automotive newbie. Existing information in the books has mostly nothing to do with practical day to day tasks at large.

What is AUTOSAR?

First of all, it is a consortium in order to standardize same or similar functionalities under an open and standardized layered software architecture for automotive *ECUs. The consortium was founded in 2003 by automotive giants like BMW, Daimler, VW, Ford, GM, Toyota, PSA, Continental ve Bosch. Automobile manufacturers, suppliers, software and tool developers work together under one roof. 

* ECU: Electronic Control Unit

Why is AUTOSAR needed?

The ever increasing E/E (Electric/Electronic) complexity of automotive systems was a major motivation which led to the development of the standard. A modern car may have more than 100 ECUs and each of them contains thousands of functions which must often be rewritten from scratch when hardware (processor type) is changed.

It was urgent need for automotive giants to cooperate together in order to make application software independent from hardware. In order to accomplish this, basic functions are implemented in AUTOSAR as an industry wide “standard core” solution and to make software modular and reusable.

What are goals?

The motto is simple: 

“Cooperate on standards, compete on implementation.”

  • With AUTOSAR, it is possible to develop the Software independent from ECU and this Software can be transferred or used in different Systems or ECUs. On the other hand, basic software can be used in different ECUs and areas. It can be adapted to different vehicles, platforms or hardwares
  • Compliant with all automotive international standards such as ISO 15767, ISO 14229, ISO

Continue Reading →