Modularity and specialisation: parallels between AUTOSAR in the automotive industry and standardised interfaces in web applications

At first glance, the development of web applications and software development in the automotive industry, especially according to the AUTOSAR standard, have little in common. However, a closer look reveals parallels in the underlying architectures and standards. This blog post examines how AUTOSAR principles and standards can serve as inspiration for web development in order to improve efficiency, security and scalability.

An overview

AUTOSAR (Automotive Open System Architecture) was founded in 2003 and is a global partnership that defines an industry standard for the architecture of automotive software. The aim of AUTOSAR is to reduce the complexity of software development in the automotive industry and to improve reuse and interoperability between different manufacturers, suppliers and development partners. AUTOSAR standardises the software architecture in electronic control units (ECUs) and promotes a modular structure that enables a clear separation of functions.

Functional architecture of a control unit

In order to establish a fundamental understanding of the basis of comparability between automotive software and a web application, we will first look at the architecture of a typical AUTOSAR ECU and name typical standards that are used.

These ECUs consist of several layers that work together to ensure the functionality of the device. Each layer has specific standards and interfaces to ensure interoperability and modularity.

Basic Software Layer (BSW)

This layer provides basic services such as communication, memory management and diagnostics. It abstracts hardware details and provides a standardised interface for the application layer.

Microcontroller Abstraction Layer (MCAL)

Enables access to microcontroller hardware, regardless of the hardware type.

ECU Abstraction Layer

Abstracts the ECU hardware functions.

Service Layer

Provides services such as diagnostics, network management and communication services.

Complex Device Drivers (CDDs)

For complex drivers that are not covered by MCAL.

Runtime Environment (RTE)

The RTE acts as an intermediary between the application software and the BSW. It enables communication between software components and the operating system.

Standards

Communication between software components

RTE enables communication between SW-Cs in the application layer and abstracts the details of the basic software.

Signal and event management

RTE manages signals and events that are exchanged between SW-Cs and the BSW.

APIs for application software

Provides APIs via which application software can access vehicle functions and services.

Application layer

Specific functions such as engine control, braking systems or infotainment are implemented here. This layer consists of modular software components that communicate via the RTE.

Standards

Software components (SW-Cs)

Defined as independent units with specific functions, e.g. for engine control, infotainment, etc.

Interfaces

Standardised interfaces for data exchange and interaction with the RTE.

Analogy between Autosar control unit and web application

The structure of a web application with frontend, middleware and backend mirrors the architecture of an AUTOSAR-based ECU in many respects.

The front end of a web application is the user interface through which the user interacts with the application. It includes everything that is displayed in the user’s web browser, such as HTML pages, CSS styles and JavaScript code.

The front end is comparable to the user interfaces of a control unit, such as the display of an infotainment system in a car, which enables interaction between the vehicle and the driver.

Middleware is the layer that connects the front end with the back end. It often consists of server-side scripts or APIs that process requests, transform data and act as a link between the presentation layer and the data layer.

The middleware can be compared to the RTE (Runtime Environment) of AUTOSAR. It forwards data and commands between the frontend and backend in a similar way to the RTE, which acts as an intermediary between the application layer and the basic software.

The backend of a web application contains the business logic, data processing and database storage. It runs on the server and is responsible for processing requests coming from the front end and sending responses back to the front end.

This is the equivalent of the Basic Software (BSW) in AUTOSAR, which provides basic services such as communication, memory management and diagnostics. The backend provides the core functionality and services that the frontend accesses.

These analogies show how the concept of modularity is used in different technology areas to structure complex systems and simplify their development, maintenance and scaling.

Standards and best practices for web applications that are comparable to AUTOSAR in terms of their function and objectives

Various architectures and standards have become established in web development that promote modularity, maintainability and interoperability. These include

 

REST (Representational State Transfer)

REST is not a formal standard, but an architectural guideline for the creation of network applications. RESTful APIs have established themselves as the standard for communication between the front end and back end and promote a clear separation of responsibilities in a web application.

 

MVC (Model-View-Controller)

MVC is a design pattern that provides for the separation of data (model), user interface (view) and business logic (controller). It is implemented in many web frameworks and promotes a modular and maintainable code base.

 

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)

SOAP is a protocol standard for the exchange of structured information in the implementation of web services in computer networks. It provides a standardised method for communication between different systems.

 

OAuth

OAuth is an open standard for access delegation that is often used for token-based authentication and authorisation on the Internet. It enables secure API authorisation in a standardised format.

 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

These guidelines provide standards for how web content can be made accessible to people with disabilities. They are considered best practice for the creation of accessible web applications.

 

HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript ES6+

The latest versions of these core web technologies have established themselves as industry standards for the development of web front-ends. They offer a wide range of functions and APIs that give modern web applications flexibility and interactivity.

 

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

RWD is an approach to web design that aims to optimise the display of websites on different devices and window or screen sizes. It has become an unwritten standard for modern web development.

Based on AUTOSAR principles

Modularity

Just as AUTOSAR modularises the software in ECUs, web applications can benefit from a clear separation into frontend, middleware and backend. This separation enables specialised development in each area, improves maintainability and facilitates scaling.

Standardised interfaces

AUTOSAR defines standardised interfaces between the modules of an ECU. Similarly, RESTful APIs or SOAP can be used in web development for communication between the front end and back end to increase interoperability and maintainability.


Safety standards

While AUTOSAR prescribes strict security standards for automotive software, web applications can benefit from similar principles by implementing robust authentication and authorisation mechanisms such as OAuth.

Summary

A software company like TVM, which has experience with the AUTOSAR standard in the automotive industry, can utilise various advantages if this knowledge is brought into the development of web applications. The most important advantages are

Modular design

AUTOSAR promotes a highly modular approach to software architecture. This experience can help in the development of web applications by leading to a clearly structured, maintainable and extensible code base. A modular design makes it easier to integrate new functions and adapt to changing requirements.

Standardised interfaces

The experience with standardised interfaces in AUTOSAR can be used in web development to create robust and well-defined API designs. This facilitates the integration of different systems and components and improves interoperability.

Focus on quality and reliability

AUTOSAR places a strong focus on reliability and quality. Applying these principles to web development can lead to higher software quality, better performance and lower error rates.

Improved safety practices

Safety standards are extremely important in the automotive industry. This experience can be utilised in web development to consider security aspects from the outset and implement robust security measures.

Experience with complex systems

AUTOSAR is used in complex and critical systems. This experience can be helpful in managing complex architectures in web applications and developing efficient solutions for challenging problems.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

AUTOSAR often requires collaboration between different disciplines (hardware, software, system integration). This experience can foster collaboration in web projects, especially in multidisciplinary teams.

Efficiency in development

The principles of reusability and standardisation that AUTOSAR follows can lead to more efficient development processes in web development. The use of proven patterns and components can reduce development time and increase productivity.

Real-time experience

Experience with real-time aspects of AUTOSAR can be useful when developing web applications that need to process real-time data, such as in web-based monitoring or control systems.

Overall, experience with AUTOSAR provides us with a solid foundation to develop robust, efficient and high-quality web applications that fulfil modern requirements.

Are you looking for a reliable partner to navigate you safely through the challenges of the AUTOSAR environment?

Contact us

 

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