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What is the Automotive Open System Architecture AUTOSAR?

Apr 22, 2022 10:26:38 AM

In the automotive industry, where technological innovation is accelerating, demands for in-vehicle software are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, and development is becoming more extensive and complex every year.

This article explores "Automotive Open System Architecture", a development partnership for automotive software platform standards that plays a crucial role in the development of complex in-vehicle software.

History of AUTOSAR

The digitization of automobiles has been rapidly progressing in recent years. In the early 1980s, when cars began to be equipped with electronic control units (ECUs), there were only two to three ECUs per car; it is not uncommon for more than 100 to be installed now.

In today's automotive industry, software is said to be deeply involved in 80% of new developments1. Software development is therefore a key battleground in the automotive sector. The growing importance of software development also means it must be adapted, and meet entirely new demands.

In order to solve this problem, the automotive industry as a whole needs to work together. By making effective use of past software assets, development costs can be reduced significantly. The key to this is "standardization".

Standardization is essential for "reusing" past software assets, advancing "automation" of the development process, and promoting reuse and automation. AUTOSAR was established in 2003 with the aim of realizing these goals. Today, almost all automotive companies participate in AUTOSAR.

AUTOSAR has been widely applied to mass-produced vehicles since around 2008, and is currently used in most cases in new developments in Europe. In development in Japan, the movement to adopt it is gathering momentum.

AUTOSAR’s role in automotive development cannot be ignored. In addition to Classic Platform (CP), a standard using static OS (OSEK / VDX OS based), Adaptive Platform (AP) using dynamic OS (POSIX-based) was released in 2017.

What is AUTOSAR standardization?

Traditional development has required significant application changes depending on the hardware. In other words, as automakers’ requirements change, the applications they develop must also change.

However, with AUTOSAR-compliant automotive software between the application and the hardware, you no longer have to change applications to match the hardware. This enables application reuse and more efficient development. This is the standardization of software delivered by AUTOSAR.



The benefits of standardization


It is possible to cooperate between applications (in the ECU, between ECUs) without being aware of communication protocols, clarifying the division of roles between OEMs and ECU suppliers, and this advantage makes it easier to collaborate and divide labour, which will in turn lead to a reduction in the development process of in-vehicle software.


The purpose of AUTOSAR

AUTOSAR is an open system architecture for automotive software development and it provides standards for developing common automotive software applications. It is a growing and evolving standard that defines a layered architecture for the software.

AUTOSAR’s purpose is highlighted in the contract signed by partners upon joining. The contract is regularly reviewed, but the current objectives from 2020 are as follows2:

  1. Support for the transfer of software
  2. Ensure flexibility for different architectures and hardware variants
  3. Support for a wide range of domains (domain-independent)
  4. Define one of the open architectures in automotive software
  5. Support for the development of dependable systems
  6. Enable collaboration between partners
  7. Support for responding to applicable international automotive standards and state of the art technologies
  8. Support for data exchange with non AUTOSAR system

As a point of content, the AUTOSAR standard does not include individual optimizations to limit processing performance, but is a software architecture that emphasizes relative versatility. In addition, in order to achieve high versatility, there are so many BSW (Basic Software) settings that you can't remember everything, so it's essential to be assisted by tools.

AUTOSAR doesn't get everything right straight away, so you need to take a long-term perspective. This is also true when trying to achieve the effect of "reuse". To take advantage of AUTOSAR, you need to be proactive in improving AUTOSAR – and not just follow the AUTOSAR updates.

Software development is now the main battleground in the automotive industry, and software vendors like eSOL are playing an increasingly important role. Since 2016, eSOL has been involved in the formulation of specifications as a premium member of AUTOSAR. The company is deeply involved in standardization activities.

If you would like to learn more about AUTOSAR, check out our blog post about the difference between AUTOSAR Adaptive and Classic Platforms

Related materials

[1] eMCOS datasheet


[1] Fumiko Kurokawa: Transfer of Added Value from Car Makers - From the Viewpoint of Standardization & Network Externalities of Vehicle Control Software, 2014 

[2] Sakurai Tsuyoshi: AUTOSAR Newest Release "R19-11" (Second Part), 2020

Marketing Communications team