The V6 PLM: Dassault’s Systems-Engineering Assault On Vehicle Design
Aug 18, 2011 2:40 PM
By Randy Frank, Contributing Editor, email@example.com
As Moore’s Law continues to perpetuate, so too does the complexity of vehicular electronics systems. While not necessarily matching the law (the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years), the increased complexity has produced well-recognized and growing problems.
With this in mind, automaker BMW, which perhaps incorporates the highest percentage of electronics in its vehicles, recently chose Dassault Systèmes V6 PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) solutions to develop the future electrical, electronics, and embedded software—the complete electrical/electronic (E/E) architecture—of its cars.
By using a full systems approach, BMW addresses wiring harness variations, electronic interfacing software, communication between systems, and more.
“They had a pretty good idea on how they wanted to fundamentally breakdown their architecture in the vehicle, how they wanted to represent software objects and electrical objects, and so on,” says Kevin Baughey, director of Brand and Market strategy for ENOVIA at Dassault Systèmes.
With the V6 PLM, Dassault could provide an out-of-the-box solution that met BMW’s view of how it wanted to design and decompose its vehicles.
According to Baughey, transforming BMW’s development activity into a true systems engineering approach requires major changes. “[It involves] looking at fundamentally architecting their platforms from the highest level down to the lowest level—doing the requirements, the features/functions partitioning to logical decomposition, and managing everything from the software objects that implement those functions to modeling the electronics pieces, as well as showing the network architecture,” he says.
Fully embracing the systems approach includes understanding and analyzing how the electronic control units (ECUs) in all systems communicate on the network. Obviously, the hardware is a part of linkage, too. “It’s in the scope of this project about electrical and electronic systems architecture,” explains Baughey.
In its “Architecture, Integration and Design for Automotive (AIDA) Project,” BMW will implement a seamless collaborative process to connect the various components and subsystems, as well as the engineering and management of the E/E process.
The existing V6 implementation, already in operation today, is the first step in a 10-year partnership between BMW and Dassault Systèmes. The joint effort focuses on building the best infrastructure and applications for BMW’s E/E domain.
Addressing the needs of extended enterprise and complex engineering processes, Dassault Systèmes’ ENOVIA PLM solution is based on flexibility, open standards, scalability, and industry-specific product-development business processes. The latest V6 release, V6R2011x, includes 479 new functions and eight new solutions to support customer collaborative design processes using Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA, DELMIA, and SIMULIA brands.
The PLM approach also features an online platform, with the newest version providing seven new products and 359 cross-industry and industry-specific functions. This portion enables cloud-computing-based life-cycle and collaboration management.
Dassault Systèmes uses a process model called RFLP (Requirements/Functional/Logical/Physical), an enhanced model-based approach to applying the systems engineering methodology for virtual design and validation (Fig. 1). Based on the well-known V-cycle design process, RFLP allows concurrent engineering to coordinate the separate activities of distributed design teams.
Thanks to the coordinated creation, sharing, and managing, program managers can reduce cycle times (Fig. 2). Project tasks are accessed directly from CATIA or DELMIA V6; completed tasks become seamless drag-and-drop deliverables into a designer’s project space. This makes real-time, cross-discipline project management possible.
Baughey credits Dassault’s relationship with, and subsequent acquisition of, Geensoft as another compelling factor in BMW’s selection of the V6 to meet systems integration and PLM requirements. Geensoft capabilities added the capacity to model and generate the entire vehicle-control software system in the V6, allowing a validation loop by connecting the physical equipment with the digital mockup.
The integration of Geensoft software into the V6 demonstrates the openness of the PLM solution. “BMW saw the value of the openness of our platform to be able to connect in other value-added processes and solutions to enhance this particular architecture,” says Baughey.
Geensoft’s AUTOSAR (Automotive Open System Architecture) capabilities were clearly recognized by BMW. “They [BMW] had an approach using AUTOSAR for architecting their software,” says Baughey. “Geensoft has very comprehensive tools for supporting AUTOSAR.” Geensoft’s capabilities include the automation of AUTOSAR and ISO 26262 development processes.
AUTOSAR, an open and standardized automotive software architecture, is the product of a joint venture among automobile manufacturers, suppliers, and tool developers. It was developed specifically to address the growing complexity of automotive software. BMW was one of the initial partners of AUTOSAR.
The further progression with AUTOSAR was a key part of BMW’s V6 decision. As a leader in implementing AUTOSAR’s capabilities, BMW is well-informed on its perspective, architecture, and how it wants to develop it. “It’s really finding a platform that supports that type of mentality, that type of thinking, that type of leading-edge architecture development,” says Baughey.
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