How To Reduce The Impact Of The Global Microcontroller Shortage On ECU Software Development

Alternative approaches to deal with supply constraints.


The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive impact on all facets of business and commerce, as widespread supply chain disruptions rippled through every industry. Multiple factors collided to create a global microcontroller shortage that is now impacting the automotive industry, and is forcing developers to redesign Electronic Control Units (ECUs) using alternative Microcontrollers (MCUs) and to otherwise find alternative solutions for designing and testing their software. This paper aims to share ways to arrive more easily and effectively at software that is less dependent on specific hard-to-get MCU hardware.

What can be done to mitigate the effects of the microcontroller shortage?
Companies need real and effective solutions and methods to deal with this shortage. This paper presents several practical means to reduce the impact:

  • Digital verification. Test software without hardware using virtual ECUs.
  • Switching. Accelerate MCU replacement using reference platforms and expert engineering.
  • Prevention. Reduce MCU hardware dependencies within vehicle software.

By shifting techniques for verifying software without hardware using virtual ECUs, accelerating MCU replacement using reference platforms and offering expert engineering services, and helping them reduce MCU hardware dependencies within their software to effectively reduce future shortage impact.

AUTOSAR vehicle software standard: Designed to Manage MCU Hardware Dependencies
Software developed to the AUTOSAR standard is highly portable and interfaces to the silicon through layered software. Effectively, AUTOSAR abstracts software dependencies to a concept of generalized MCU hardware — where software executes on an abstract compute resource as a so-called “generic MCU.” Used strategically, this enables developers to verify and validate a substantial amount of their software independently from underlying MCU hardware details and differences. A best practice thus naturally emerges: a development methodology where a substantial amount of software is pre-verified against the generalized AUTOSAR MCU hardware concept.

Download this white paper to read more about how using Siemens Capital VSTAR, developers can leverage a complete set of tools and software that includes a general-purpose MCU simulation model that can be used to verify AUTOSAR-compliant software in a virtual environment.

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