Today’s worries about car safety have shifted from traditional crash-test performance to the software systems that control many of the safety-critical components in the car. Compiler qualification with SuperTest plays an important role in keeping software safe. The benefits of compiler qualification do not stop there. It also contributes to other factors that make a car sellable such as desirability and affordability.

Virtually everyone who drives a modern production car knows it has an onboard computer, helping to make the engine more fuel-efficient, reducing exhaust emissions, keeping the car stable in adverse driving conditions – features that are now taken for granted on all new vehicles. However, with the introduction of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), together with concerns about the 5G infrastructure on which future ‘connected cars’ will rely, consumers are increasingly asking the question ‘how safe is the software behind these advanced features?’.

So while we were exhibiting in Paris last week at the Renault Co-Innovation Days, it was interesting to talk to Renault and its suppliers about what makes a modern car ‘sellable’. According to those who know, three things stand out – desirability, affordability and safety. With all three of them impacted by the car’s onboard software, compiler testing therefore has a significant part to play in achieving the sellable car of the future.

Safety first
Traditionally, compiler testing and qualification in the automotive industry were associated with safety-critical features and largely driven by legislative requirements to meet functional safety standards such as ISO 26262. Today, however, safety is in itself a key factor in making a vehicle more sellable. People simply want their cars to be safe.

In previous blogs we already talked about how compiler validation with SuperTest provides developers with the confidence that a compiler is safe to use, as well as giving them the flexibility to fine-tune the settings of a compiler, and the freedom to replace the compiler if necessary without impacting project delivery schedules. These are benefits that SuperTest provides in addition to simply ensuring compiler quality and conformance. However, SuperTest also delivers other benefits that have a positive effect on the two other things needed to create a sellable car.

Desirability and Affordability
In addition to a car’s aesthetic styling and social (think electric) attractability, its desirability depends on the features it offers. However, in order to clinch the buying decision those features must also be affordable. In other words, consumers want the ‘biggest bang for their buck’, and whether it’s automated parking assist, rain sensors or Bluetooth integration, all those ‘bangs’ rely on software. Modern cars can contain up to 150 different processors (CPUs and microcontrollers), every one of which runs machine code generated by a compiler. The more memory efficient the generated code, the smaller and more affordable the target processor can be. Thanks to SuperTest’s new optimization suite, developers can verify a compiler at the required optimization level, enabling more efficient software, a smaller and cheaper target processor, and hence more affordable feature-rich cars.

Smart and Green
Over the last few years, smart mobility and green mobility have really taken off, in part due to the success of companies such as Tesla. Autonomous driving is no longer just a concept, and with the introduction of 5G networks it will rapidly advance and eventually become mainstream. In the meantime, car manufacturers are continuously looking at ways to make their cars more sustainable with less negative impact on the environment – the development of all-electric vehicles clearly being the number one move in that direction.

All these new technologies and features, both within vehicles and within the ‘connected car’ ecosystem, will require software, software and more software, which means that compiler testing and qualification will become even more important in the automotive industry than it is today. Smart, green, desirable, affordable and safe – what more could you want from the car of the future?