Continuous Delivery Puts Automotive Software into High Gear

Written by: Electric Bee
6 min read

Two of the big-three US automakers and three tier-1 global automotive suppliers use CloudBees’s product to accelerate the delivery and improve quality of various components that go into our cars – such as power trains, transmissions, lighting, instrumentation, and infotainment software.

Today, cars are run by software.

Engine Control Unit (ECU) makes hundreds of decision per second based on inputs from tens of sensors measuring fuel, engine load, throttle input, gear selection, emission composition, engine temperature, oxygen level, and more. Based on this data, ECU sends signals to dozens of actuators to ensure that the engine runs in the most optimal way. Automatic and dual-clutch semi-automatic gear boxes are also optimized by software in a similar manner as the engine. The transmission software must coordinate its decision making process with the ECU so the transmission will select the correct gear for the various driving conditions. This complex system relies on millions line of code, produced by hundreds of engineers, in teams located all around the world. Not only is the car itself relying on software, a lot of software is involved in the manufacturing process itself. For example, simulation programs are used to validate the design of the different components for various use cases. Then, skeleton programs are generated automatically using tools such as Simulink. At this moment, hundreds of programmers start writing code to complete the different modules, with hundreds of additional software tools employed by developers and testers in the process. Unit tests must be performed prior to committing the code into the source code repository. Additionally, these different modules must be integrated together and tested. Once integrated, the quality engineers and developers must iterate to eliminate bugs. Hardware-emulation software is often used to perform the unit test, and then, after integration, associated hardware is incorporated to perform hardware-in-the-loop test. Once quality is achieved, the final artifacts (binaries and other associated files) are packaged together. While car manufacturers today share the same engine and transmission hardware for many different models, a different set of parameters needs to be configured for each car model. For example, a performance oriented car will have a much more sporty programming than an eco-friendly compact car. This represent a very complex build-test-and-release matrix / permutation.

How CloudBees accelerates automotive software delivery?****

  • Accelerating builds up to 20X while guaranteeing accurate builds - with CloudBees Accelerator ’s patented parallelization and dependency-detection technology.

  • Accelerating tests - We accelerate static analysis (often used to meet safety standards: ISO26262, MISRA) and test execution through parallelizing test across a cluster, and eliminating manual hand offs and processes- such as exception handling or retries.

  • Increasing hardware utilization of your dev and test infrastructure from the typical 50 to over 90. With CloudBees managing your hardware/virtual resources, teams in different time zones can use the same set of hardware with instant automatic setup, configuration, and tear down cycles.

  • Coordinating and orchestrating hundreds of tools in build-test-release cycle to accelerate your end-to-end process. CloudBees automation platform creates a continuous pipeline of the software development life cycle. Hundreds of man-hours are recouped when we automate the manual transfer of bits and the conversion of data from one tool in the chain to other tools downstream . In place of brittle processes that are both time consuming and error prone, the engineer can now just press a button and monitor whether the execution of a series of tools is successful. If there is an error, our solution pin points the issue to simplify troubleshooting. In addition, consequent steps to handle the error can also be configured as part of the automatic workflow.

  • Coordinating and orchestrating distributed teams - Many automakers or tier-1 suppliers have test centers in Eastern Europe or India. CloudBees helps improve the output and utilization of these teams, as well as provide centralize reporting and visibility into the status of various artifacts as they are being worked on across globally-distributed teams. As an example, if the artifacts that arrive on the time zone of those test centers in India are dead on arrival, hundred of man-hours are wasted. CloudBees ensures that proper validations and tests are performed through Continuous Integration, Continuous Test, Continuous Release- testing the process of deploying the software into the target hardware at each stage across the process. That way you can ensure that the build being sent for testing or for work to be picked up by another group has in fact been tested, and that the next stage in the process can begin.

  • Providing visibility on each project’s progress along the build-test-release cycle. Because we orchestrate hundreds of tools involved in the delivery process, CloudBees has access to all the output files and the dynamic parameters to execute each tool. With this data, our solution provides a detailed dashboard for your end-to-end pipeline - indicating the health of the overall project as well as the status of each particular build or process. It also performs trend reporting of success/failure/delays to evaluate the performance and timeline of various projects.

  • Providing software development audit data for MISRA, ISO 26262, SPICE compliance. Thanks to centralized reporting and visibility into the entire process, CloudBees’s powerful post-processor extracts out of the mass amounts of data being accumulated the right metrics and event logs required for audit purposes. For example, we have integration with MethodPark Stages tool. We provide the audit data from the software development perspective to Stages. Stages can validate in almost real-time whether the artifacts coming out of the development process are meeting the MISRA, ISO 26262, SPICE standards. By implementing the workflow of build-test-and-release cycle, CloudBees enables our customers to achieve SPICE level 3 and 4. It’s key that the audit data is available in real-time, in an automated way that eliminates the need for manual, time-consuming, audit processes.

  • Integration with PLM tools. CloudBees provides data to PLM tools, and a PLM tool can invoke software work tasks executed by our orchestration solution. This creates a multi-domain automotive Continuous Delivery - seamlessly integrating data of all the product’s components into a single EBOM, reducing design-to-delivery cycles across hardware and software teams, and enables testing of integrated systems earlier and more often.

All of this translates to transformative benefits for the automotive industry -- and smarter, safer (and more fun) cars for the rest of us! automotive-benefits-from-continuous-delivery

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