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Mentor rolls Autosar support tool

April 21, 2009

george.leopold-April 21, 2009

Mentor Graphics Corp. has unveiled the first in a series of design tools that support the Automotive Open System Architecture (Autosar) standard.

Mentor (Wilsonville, Ore.) said Monday (April 20) that its first Vehicle System Architect (VSA) tool called Volcano also supports embedded software design for FlexRay, CAN and LIN network designs. The EDA company said its approach can help reduce design costs for automotive manufacturers by expanding the number of standards interfaces and components based on the Autosar spec.

"Cost is really a driver for auto makers," said Serge Leef, general manager Mentor's System-level Engineering Division. As a result, manufacturers are trying to leverage Autosar to add functionality to, for example, individual automotive electronic control units (ECU). Leef claimed EDA tools like Volcano could help auto designers analyze the overall impact of these optimization efforts on auto designs.

Mentor said it wants to take advantage of the trend toward optimizing ECUs as a way to reduce design and manufacturing costs while offering more standard automotive features. For example, designers might seek to optimize a control unit by combining ABS and a parking sensor on the same ECU, Leef said.

Mentor said its model-driven design process allows users to reduce the amount of downstream validation and physical prototyping they use in designing auto components, embedded software and networks. The system is said to allow users to move key design decisions and verification tasks to the front of their flow, thereby helping to get products to the market sooner.

Autosar "does a great job of standardizing, but it doesn't necessarily simplify the design process," Leef argued. "You [still] need tools that take the complexity out of the design process and allow development teams to focus on their real jobs of delivering application software, ECUs or the networking system."

VSA is the first of about a half-dozen Autosar-based products Mentor plans to introduce later this year, Leef said.

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