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Engineering Collaboration Accelerates Software Development & Vehicle Platform Integration

May 1, 2024

If you follow news in automotive, you know that the industry is in the midst of a significant transformation. OEMs are taking different paths to an electric future, vehicles are increasingly becoming software-defined, non-traditional automotive companies are entering the industry, traditional hardware suppliers are evolving into software suppliers and so much more.

The onset of challenges from these transformative changes is driving greater collaboration in the industry than we’ve ever seen before. OEMs realize the challenges of trying to navigate this transformation alone, so they are increasingly partnering with other global OEMs – as well as Tier 1 suppliers like Nexteer – to help build upon each other’s strengths and resources and bring their software-defined vehicles (SDVs) to market, faster.

How We Add Value by Integrating Scalable Software Solutions into Connected Vehicle Platforms

Today, many suppliers create hardware components that are integrated with software and must fit a vehicle’s unique physical, safety and performance requirements. This is not new to Nexteer – as we have produced over 100 million Electric Power Steering (EPS) systems globally with varying levels of safety-critical software and cybersecurity per our customers’ requirements.

What is new is OEMs’ desire to create separation layers between the vehicle’s hardware and software for their future SDVs. The separation between hardware and software enables domain or zonal E/E architectures for enhanced over-the-air (OTA) capabilities and more agility in bringing new innovative features to market.

At Nexteer, we’re leveraging our proven software expertise to support our customers with this transition by decoupling our software solutions in advanced steering, advanced safety and vehicle health management from our hardware and seamlessly integrating them into centralized Domain Control Units (DCUs) or High-Performance Computers (HPCs). With decades of experience in integrating embedded automotive steering software, our engineers act as an extension of our global OEM customer teams to help develop their SDVs and drive efficiencies by providing comprehensive software engineering services with agility, responsiveness and quality.

How Our Engineering Services Accelerate Software Development 

OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers have a strong history of collaboration as Tier 1s have traditionally been a center of innovation for vehicle sub-systems. With evolving vehicle architectures, OEMs may not have the in-house bandwidth or system integration know-how to efficiently develop a necessary technology on their own, while also meeting tight timelines and various safety requirements across international markets. This is where partners with specialized expertise and global insights – like Nexteer with our advanced motion control expertise – can help OEMs efficiently design, develop, test and seamlessly integrate software solutions into vehicles.

We collaborate with OEMs from start of requirements to the end of vehicle lifecycle to support the accelerated development and integration of our safety-critical software. Our engineering teams champion agile software development processes that support efficient delivery, rapid prototyping and product flexibility to meet our customers’ needs. We also offer engineering services such as complete testing and validation capabilities – with platforms ranging from full system HiL to virtual ECU tools – and software architecture and feature development with safety and cybersecurity incorporated.

As we work with OEMs on a deeper level to develop and validate solutions, virtual engineering – the practice of using simulation and other virtual tools to test and validate automotive components – has become crucial to reducing costs and design process time. Virtual engineering allows engineers to evaluate product design and performance without delays linked to hardware development timelines.

As software continues to define vehicles in an increasingly connected world, integration between suppliers and OEMs at all levels will remain essential to designing the best, safest vehicles possible. At Nexteer, our focus will remain on being a flexible, strategic partner to help co-develop software solutions and offer various levels of engineering services to support our customers’ software and future mobility goals.

Geoff Krieger
Geoff Krieger is Executive Director, Software Engineering at Nexteer Automotive, responsible for global systems and software development.