Milestone – Agile development of mechatronic systems

The automotive sector is facing major challenges and changes. With regard to driving functions, which take over the control of the vehicle gradually, the proportion of software and electronic hardware (sensors / actuators) increases rapidly. “Fixes” for security “exploits” and “bugs” for these systems must be delivered to the customer within a very short time. Likewise, customers expect updates and new features for their vehicle.
With established development methods, this problem is difficult to counteract. On the other hand, development times for these highly networked systems are growing, but this counteracts the rapid response to bugs and exploits. Due to this changing environment, manufacturers are forced to install more efficient and flexible development processes to meet the challenges of the market.

As part of software development, the agile development approach has been proven for decades within pure Software development. Regarding Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery, software parts are continuously developed and automatically and inherently tested. The file versioning, the automated set-up of test scenarios and the continuous, automated test execution leads to a constantly consistent development status. This approach allows flexible adaptation of goals reduces development risks and subsequently yields transparent, secure and accelerated software development.

Based on gained insights and experiences from research projects like CESAR, Crystal, ACOSAR, ACoRTA and others, together with Volkswagen AG and the University of Hannover, new and practicable approaches for the agile development of mechatronic systems are developed. Distributed testing is realized in this context via co-simulation, whereby the co-simulation itself and the subsystems are automatically created and configured in the sense of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. A special focus is on a development environment for securing automated driving functions.

In addition, a development demonstrator will be set up at the Living Innovation Lab at the VIRTUAL VEHICLE during the project period in order to continuously evaluate developed concepts and prototypes. The focus is on cross-company agile development processes, methods and tools (such as Scrum of Scrum), which allow, to respond adequately to these changing requirements and to reduce development times without reducing the quality of the functions.

The aim of the project is to apply the methods from agile software development to the development of mechatronic systems in order to significantly accelerate the development process in the automotive industry. The challenge facing software development is to automatically configure simulation environments and hardware components on test benches and integrate them into test scenarios. This requires the development of new methods and technologies, to smoothly integrate such a process in an industrial environment.


Project Profile:

·         Industry partner: Volkswagen AG

·         Scientific partner: LUH (Prof. Szczerbicka)

·         Project budget: 900 k€

·         Duration (months): 01.01.2018 – 31.12.2020 (36 months)