Software Has Become Central to Automotive Development
April 19, 2023

With the continued growth of autonomous, semi-autonomous, electric, and connected vehicle segments, software is even more central to automotive development, according to the State of Automotive Software Development report from Perforce Software.

The increasing amount of software installed in vehicles can lead to more safety and security considerations during the development process. In fact, 73% of automotive developers have adopted or are in the process of adopting a shift-left strategy to identify software security and safety vulnerabilities as early as possible.

The leading market conditions impacting automotive software development this year include the global economy and related conditions of inflation, chip shortages, supply chain challenges, and the shift to a remote/hybrid workforce. As a result of many of these challenges, automotive organizations are most concerned about maintaining industry competitiveness and maximizing existing resources and talent.

In addition, the survey found that automotive developers' top three leading development concerns are safety (30%), security (27%), and quality (26%). Of those most concerned with safety, 47% said their biggest concerns are the difficulties and time required to fulfill every ISO 26262 requirement.

"Safety continues to be the automotive software industry's key priority, but security concerns continue to rise as the need to protect automotive electronic systems, communication networks, and software grows," said Perforce VP of Product Ido Benmoshe. "OEMs and their supply chain partners want to prevent costly and malicious attacks, unauthorized access, or manipulation to automotive systems, and ensuring their code is secure is the first step to mitigating those incidents."

Autonomous, semi-autonomous, electric, and connected vehicle development is also greatly impacting development teams. The majority of teams are working on autonomous and semi-autonomous components (80%), electric components (90%), and connectivity components (86%) to some degree.

Another notable finding was that 85% use a coding standard to ensure safe, secure, and reliable code — with 42% of those surveyed using a static code analysis tool to aid in compliance, and 32% use a SAST tool to ensure secure software.

"Organizations across the automotive industry continue to work toward meeting the highest levels of quality," said Perforce Director of Compliance Jill Britton. "With the rapid growth of the electric and autonomous vehicle segments, compliance to safety and security standards is going to be more important than ever."