Note: This post was updated on July 23 with additional information after an interview with Dassault Systemes.
The title of this post is somewhat misleading, because PLM software giant Dassault Systemes is not about to start building cars. What the company is offering is a software platform for developing embedded systems in automotive. The solution is also expected to help automakers achieve ISO26262 safety standards and AUTOSAR compliance. The product — which is not a car — is called Smart, Safe & Connected Car (SSCC).
The AUTOSAR standard is established by a collection of automotive manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers, many of whom use software products from Dassault Systemes and its competitors. The name itself is derived from AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture, an industry-accepted framework for automotive electrical/electronic architecture.
In the announcement, Dassault Systemes pointed out, “Electronics and software currently represent over 80% of vehicle innovation,” emphasizing that automotive design has shifted from mechanical parts and surfaces to electronics and software. (The same recognition led rival PLM vendor PTC to acquire MKS, which specializes in developing embedded software lifecycle management.)
Dassault Systemes’ solution is a collection of “applications implemented in a modular approach and focused on early virtual vehicle validation.” In the company’s own words, it’s a “new transportation & mobility solution experience for embedded systems.” SSCC focuses on
- functional safety delivery;
- electrical engineering;
- behavior modeling;
- electronics and electrical architecture,
“The solution experience would mimic what an automaker or supplier would do from conception, all the way to services,” said Michael LaLande, industry business director, assault Systemes. “At the beginning of the process, we have solutions to go out and capture the voice of the customers, understand consumer sentiments, then transform [the data] into technical requirements … This will roll down to engineering and manufacturing. Then it could be reused in technical manual and services.”
The SSCC bundle contains features from established Dassault Systemes products, such as CATIA, SIMULIA, 3DVIA Composer, Exalead, DELMIA, and more. “Instead of brands, we’re providing customers with a packaged set of solutions with a defined workflow,” said LaLande.
The company hopes SSCC will attract both existing customers as well as new customers. “We engineered this solution to be above and beyond traditional, standard CAD-and-PLM approach,” said Paul Silver, global industry marketing, Dassault Systemes.
With aerospace and automotive industries already in their pockets, PLM vendors now hope to expand into new territories. With their latest releases, Dassault Systemes and its rival Siemens PLM Connection begin courting the shipbuilding industry. Expansion into the embedded software market is a natural move, as many of the products in the PLM vendors’ principal domains — automobiles, airplanes, household electronics, and consumer goods, for example — are now largely driven by embedded software. The same goes for shipbuilding.
With hundreds of thousands of transistors and millions of code crisscrossing under the hood, a modern vehicle is, quite literally, driven by software — a precursor to the days when cars will drive themselves with little or no human intervention.