The Role of MBSE and Simulation in Feature Implementation

The world’s automotive fleet is quickly transitioning away from primarily relying on fossil fuels and mechanical assemblies. Modern cars increasingly use electric power and software-mediated features that can be monitored, activated, and updated remotely. In fact, the entire automotive industry is moving toward software-defined vehicles (SDVs): cars that are primarily controlled through software capabilities.

This move has profound implications for automotive companies, many of whom still rely on time-consuming, expensive, and imprecise prototyping and testing methods. These companies must adapt to a world in which cars are composed of a complex web
of interdependent systems, and even the smallest new feature may impact mechanical, electrical, and
software components. To succeed, companies must move toward a more digital systems engineering approach to development.

This brief explains the following sections:

  • Dramatic Advances Push Automakers To Rethink Strategy: The automotive industry is quickly evolving, with new software-enabled features driving safety, energy efficiency, and more. To meet the moment, automakers must think of development in new ways.
  • Drawbacks of Traditional Prototyping for Today’s SDVs: Many companies still test their designs using physical prototypes, which are generally expensive and introduced late in the development cycle. This discourages innovation and leads to less-than-optimal design.
  • Digital Simulation Promotes Experimentation: Digital prototyping with simulation provides a significantly faster and less expensive way for teams to move forward. Engineers can experiment more, iterating multiple times on a design without driving up costs or delaying product release.
  • The Model-Based Systems Engineering Perspective: An interdisciplinary approach to facilitating the design, integration, and management of complex systems over the product lifecycle provides a framework from which companies can best understand the impact of design features.

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