Autosar 4.0.3 focuses on maintenance, stability

February 08, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Revision 4.0.3 of the automotive standard software architecture is now available to autosar member companies. In the first place, the developers improved stability and handling. Added functionality was not the first priority. Nevertheless, the new version now supports a major architectural innovation: Partial Networking.

Partial networking means that networks nodes inside the car can be put to "sleep mode" on data bus level (typically, CAN bus) as part of a power management concept. For instance, a parking assistant system can be switched off while the vehicle is driving at high speed. This is particular important for electric vehicles where battery power is not limitless available. But given the rising number of ECUs in a car, power consumption is becoming also an issue for conventional vehicles. The Autosar consortium is the first software initiative worldwide that supports partial networking and thus efficient energy management, the group claims.

Also the earlier Autosar version 3.2.1 supports partial networking. The roll-out schedules of the Autosar core partners - BMW, Bosch, Continental, Daimler, Ford, GM, PSA, Toyota and Volkswagen - show that Autosar releases 3.x and 4.x will coexist in production vehicles. With the early release and support for two versions for series production, the consortium intends to facilitate on-the-fly switching between the versions.

Version 4.0 is backward compatible to 3.x; given the high acceptance for Autosar in the automotive industry, backwards compatibility plays a "decisive role", said Autosar spokesperson Frank Kirschke-Biller. "One of the main goals of the current Autosar project phase III is the preservation of existing releases. With version 4.0.3 we significantly improve the handling and offer better usability of the standard to our member companies."

Autosar project phase III - which should not be confused with software releases - deals with process optimization. One of the goals is that the group thus will inhibit incompatible developments within the standard. For this reason, the Autosar consortium offers a backwards compatibility protocol that supports automotive OEMs and tier ones in the migration analysis between releases and revisions.