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NXP Nudges OEMs Toward Software-First Design

Virtual ECUs in a virtual development environment have already changed the way semiconductor companies such as NXP design their chips. Now NXP brings that virtual environment concept to OEMs and tier ones.

Multiple vehicle classes and architectures demand scalability (Image: NXP)

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By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
“Software-defined” is an inescapable trend even for automakers. Gone soon will be days when OEMs demanded tier ones to bring another (hardware) box with each new feature, so that they can pile up boxes in a vehicle that results in ever-growing complexity. While Software-Defined Vehicles (SDV) hold much promise, the trend demands that carmakers design vehicles using virtual ECUs in a virtual development environment.

For car buyers, software-defined vehicles (SDVs) could simply mean over-the-air updates or various apps running on in-vehicle infotainment systems that leave the underlying hardware unchanged.

For automotive design engineers, on the other hand, SDVs are both critical and problematic.

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