Modern vehicles contain over 100 million lines of code, with software being one of the key enablers of most of the car’s features or functions. These increased amounts of software content mean that validating system performance becomes significantly more challenging. Automotive designers not only need to improve software quality and integrity, but also virtual software testing and safety to ensure proper functioning.
There are different use cases for digital twins in this scenario. “Software-first” digital twins address the impact of software on verification, test, and validation activities, uniquely simulating each step during development to identify and prevent any potential failure. Digital twins also enhance software collaboration across the supply chain, serving as an executable specification and enablement in which one company’s system can be used as another’s subsystem. This also allows for seamless integration between a company’s digital twin and their customer’s digital twin, enabling improved interaction among different domains.
Digital twins are also valuable for “vehicle electrical/electronic (E/E)-system” validation, paving the way for a shift-left approach in automotive design that allows early hardware and software integration as well as frontload testing. This can help reduce resources spent on under- or over-design and save potential recall costs down the line. Digital twins can also provide scalability from an individual component through a full system company product. For example, in the electronic supply chain, this may start from an individual hardware IP to an SoC, then to an electronic subsystem, and finally to an entire system.
Overall, the concept brings a wide array of benefits to the automotive industry, including earlier development and testing, increased productivity and performance, enhanced collaboration within and across companies, and faster delivery of safer systems at a lower cost.