The challenge posed at the beginning of the new millennium in the evolution of vehicles was the implementation of integral electronic control of in-vehicle and extra-vehicle functions in order to improve safety and comfort in all areas of the vehicle – from engine, steering and braking systems to communications, entertainment and human-machine interfaces. The problem was that, when a new component is introduced, not only must it be tested thoroughly but so must all existing components to ensure none has been adversely affected. As a result, introducing new electronics puts development costs and cycle times under enormous pressure. The ITEA project EAST-EEA successfully addressed the need for software and hardware interoperability by developing an integrated platform based on open-systems architecture.
In the EAST-EEA project, twenty-three consortium partners represented all the major players in the automotive sector, including manufacturers, their suppliers, SMEs with essential control software expertise, and academic and research institutions. Key project results included:
The middleware, as well as the communication layer concepts, were implemented and validated in demonstrators in the different automotive areas of body electronics, powertrain, chassis, telematics and humanmachine interfaces. The new software architecture allowed easier integration of new electronics in vehicles through plug-and-play technology, dramatically reducing development time and costs to market. Furthermore, the project also guaranteed a level of quality that is essential to the competitiveness of European vehicles.
Thanks to the EAST-EEA approach, vehicle manufacturers acquired an integrated framework for software and communication interfaces, tool environments and rules while suppliers benefited from standard solutions and reuse became possible, with new vehicle models able to be developed faster and product quality improved.
The outcome of EAST-EEA formed the basis for the automotive industry's standardised platform for automotive applications: the Automotive Open System Architecture (AUTOSAR) initiative. The AUTOSAR partnership was formed in July 2003 as a spin-off from EAST-EEA, taking the ADL initially defined in the EASTEEA project and subsequently refining this to describe automotive electronic systems through an information model that captures engineering information in a standardised form.
While AUTOSAR industrialised the software architecture aspects of EAST-EEA, systems engineering aspects like requirements, variability, safety and timing were addressed in related initiatives. The EAST-ADL language is fully integrated with AUTOSAR and covers a wide range of automotive development concerns. The language is maintained by the EAST-ADL Association, and the EATOP Eclipse project provides a reference implementation that is aligned with Artop, the corresponding platform for AUTOSAR.
There are also several European and national projects building on EAST-EEA. For example, based on AUTOSAR+EAST-ADL+FMU models, Volvo is currently providing simulation support for continuous integration.
The successes of other ITEA projects like AMALTHEA, SAFE and TIMMO-2-USE, in terms of revolutionising software development in the automotive industry and the impact they have had and will have on subsequent related projects, can be traced back over the past two decades to EAST-EEA. They are projects that have added something new, something extra in response to the state-of-the-industry and market demands.