Automotive software is the embedded code that operates the electronics and control units used in motor vehicles today. From environmental controls to braking, these systems are used to improve the driving experience and increase the safety of the driver and passengers. Embedded automotive software is what makes these devices work, and as a result, must be extremely reliable. If there is even one bug in the code, a device could potentially malfunction and cause injury or even death.
However, there are standards to regulate the quality, safety and reliability of automotive software, which are ensured through the rigorous testing. The primary standard, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 26262, was established as the international benchmark in the North America, Europe, Australia, the majority of Asia, South America and the Middle East and meets federal regulations throughout these regions. Additionally, there is also the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association (MISRA), which has its own standards to test automotive software.
The ISO develops standards using the most up-to-date safety requirements, and works in conjunction with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and other major standards organizations.
ISO 26262 is an adaptation of IEC 61508, a standard for automotive electrical systems.
For any manufacturer, thorough testing of automotive software is important not only to maintain safety but the company's image and income as well. Product failures often result in a recall, which can cost a business millions of dollars. Testing must occur to assure the reliability of software over time and keep revenue up.