Shift Left with the Automotive Software Twin


June 29, 2023



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Shift Left with the Automotive Software Twin

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Enabling the Shift Left in Automotive

One of our last blogs covered the software twin and its benefits in automotive. In this article, we will deepen this topic by discussing its application in the shift left of development.

What is Shift Left?

Vehicle testing has always been a costly thing to do—long and intricate. Today, given the complexity and interconnection of software-defined vehicles (SDVs), it becomes imperative to streamline processes. For example, early detection of issues and errors can yield major benefits, such as huge cost savings.

The concept of “Shift Left” was developed in the software sector for these purposes. It is the practice to begin testing and evaluating software as early in the process as possible, sometimes, in fact, before the hardware is available. Tests might even be conceived before the software is written. This is in line with agile software development practices and their continuous, iterative cycles. 

Why and How in Automotive?

With millions of lines of code in vehicles, it makes sense to incorporate software development practices in the automotive sector. An ideal scenario would be to work with a virtual prototype (of individual ECUs as well as the entire environment) that serves for early testing and simulations. This provides the ability to develop code from a virtual representation before hardware is available, while access to a virtual environment enables the simulation and testing of new features and functions.

Such an approach not only minimizes the reliance on test vehicles but avoids the enormous costs associated with fixing errors later in the development process. This is a major aspect because it can be up to a hundred times more expensive to rectify a problem found in later vehicle development stages.

Use and Benefits

Sibros enables applications with the ability to create a digital and software twin. The software twin not only provides the added option of easily and individually updating software in the system but also allows OEMs to seamlessly run and test variations and different implementations—for performance as well as for errors. Some examples of the numerous use cases are:

  • A feature update of a 5-year-old vehicle. Such an update has to be tested and validated first. With the traditional approach, it might even be necessary to buy used vehicles of that age in the market for these purposes. Now, new software for older vehicles can be developed and tested based on a trove of data and with broad virtualization and simulation capabilities.
  • Rethinking the cycles of minor and major updates. When the times for software upgrades and test and validation are shortened, it will be possible to move beyond the annual cycle of minor updates and the 4-6 year cycle of major changes. 
  • Updates over the vehicle life cycle. Vehicles today last 15 years and this time frame can now be better made use of with value-added features and services. 
  • For all such use cases, digital and software twins can additionally serve to observe the safety aspects that are always a dominant factor in automotive.

Sibros supports these processes with all products of its Deep Connected Platform. Deep Updater manages software versions, allows a 360° view with deployment logs and stats, and delivers a full audit trail. Deep Logger provides features like data postprocessing, custom builds, and advanced plotting and charting. Deep Commander allows commands with simultaneous diagnostic sessions and command sequences. 

Shift Left with Sibros

Given ever shorter cycles and constantly escalating complexity, a linear development approach becomes increasingly unsustainable in the automotive sector. The software twin can serve as a testing ground, based on data from real-world driving, with the ability to change parameters, and even software. By shifting left, cycles can be shortened, errors caught, and variations and interconnections of complex systems tested. And all this is possible while reducing the enormous cost and effort involved in rectifying issues later. Talk to us today to learn more. 

Max Reinhold
Max Reinhold
Max Reinhold has been in the writing and technical communication space for more than 15 years. He spent the better part of his twenties disassembling motorcycle engines—sometimes he was even able to assemble them back again. Model airplanes make him feel nostalgic. He graduated from Humboldt University of Berlin.