Safety and Security are Top Concerns for Automotive Software Developers - Part 2
July 12, 2022

Javier Perez

To better understand the current state of automotive software, Perforce conducted a survey in partnership with Automotive IQ of over 600 automotive development leaders around the world. The annual survey provided insights to the leading trends in automotive software development, as well as the future outlook on the innovative vehicles of tomorrow.

So, what’s top of mind for automotive software developers this year? Here are more takeaways from the 2022 State of Automotive Software Development Survey Report and considerations for the road ahead.

Start with: Safety and Security are Top Concerns for Automotive Software Developers - Part 1

How Electric, Autonomous and Connected Vehicles are Changing the Road

The state of automotive is changing thanks to the continued adoption and development of electric, autonomous, semi-autonomous, and connected vehicles. The 2021 report found that 47% of respondents were working on some electric vehicle components and 39% stated that it is driving their design and development efforts.

This year, there was an even more significant increase in the development of electric vehicles, with 45% of respondents indicating that they are working extensively on electric vehicles, resulting in a 6% increase from a year ago.

Like much of the automotive development space, the leading concern of electric vehicle development is ensuring safety and security given the number of hardware components now replaced or managed by software. That may be why complying with regulations to ensure safety was the top concern (50%), a slight increase of 1% over last year. Security and avoiding cyberattacks were the second leading concerns for 25% of respondents, an increase of 8%.

Beyond electric, automotive vehicles continue to progress steadily, with 7% more respondents working on some autonomous components this year (51%). Further, built-in connectivity is becoming more common, with an 8% decrease in teams working extensively on connected vehicles (28%), signaling that this aspect is expected.

In all, when looking at the landscape for electric, autonomous, semi-autonomous, and connected vehicles, cybersecurity concerns rose by 9% from last year. 56% of surveyed individuals stated that complying with regulations to ensure safety was their leading concern, which is the same as last year.

A Culture of Testing Earlier and More Often

In the 2022 report, three-fourths of respondents (75%) noted they have already implemented (32%) or are in the process of implementing a shift-left testing strategy (43%). Shift left testing is a rising movement because of its value for agile teams and versatility across projects — providing automotive developers the time to fix defects, avoiding delays and missed deadlines. It encourages developers to conduct testing in the earliest stages of the development lifecycle, businesses can ensure the highest level of functionality and the most secure software systems. Smaller bugs. Less rework. Easier fixes. Just over a quarter of respondents (27%) reported that not testing early enough in development, where bugs were found too late, was a top testing concern, increasing by 4% year-over-year.

One positive shift from last year’s report is the 5% decrease in respondents whose quality concerns rested in testing shortcomings, specifically the lack of exhaustive testing efforts and lack of time. This is a promising sign that testing initiatives are becoming more engrained in development efforts — from quality to development.

Why Static Analysis is Essential to the Future of Automotive

Thanks to the emergence and use of static analysis tools, the future of automotive software development is changing for the better. Static analysis tools enable teams to identify software security vulnerabilities and weaknesses effectively and enforce various coding standards and guidelines. By leveraging these tools, automotive software companies can verify compliance of coding standards and policies, providing evidence that the software complies. This allows developers to address functional safety and security concerns and requirements fully.

By using static analysis tools, software developers can accelerate compliance by:

■ Enforcing coding standards

■ Detecting compliance violations

■ Identifying compliance issues early

■ Accelerating code reviews

■ Reducing manual testing efforts

As the industry evolves and innovations arise, there will always be concerns and challenges keeping automotive software developers up at night. Finding ways to innovate faster and improve quality while maintaining compliance for safety and security will separate the best from the rest — and static analysis tools will become a cornerstone of successful development teams of tomorrow.

Javier Perez is Chief Evangelist, Open Source and Security, at Perforce