When personal computers first came into common use in the 1980s, the closest a microchip came to an automobile was during transit to its final destination.
Few consumers could have predicted there would come a time when their automobiles would be controlled by computer chips, much less have integrated technologies to manage everything from cell phone calls to satellite radio to entertainment features, GPS mapping, and even drive controls.
The automobile of the 2020s hasn’t just transcended crank starters and wood paneling; today’s automobiles integrate multiple technologies developed by teams across industries all over the globe. The automobile market has evolved to include everything from self- or assisted-driving technology, automated safety features, and various green technologies, including electric and hybrid options.
These marketing forces are creating the following challenges:
- Surge in connected cars
- Autonomous vehicles (AV) disrupt regulations
- Push to electrification of vehicles (EVs) balanced with high technology cost
- Increased mobility services
- Product quality that meets safety-critical standards
With all of these new market demands, it’s not uncommon for automobiles to require over 100 million lines of code. By 2030, a late model auto could require as many as 300 million lines of code. Connected cars can process 25 gigabytes of data per hour and generate over 4 terabytes of data per day.
All of this data means that today’s cars can fall prey to software malfunctions, connection interference, or even hacking. And because lives are in the balance, development teams have more incentive—and responsibility—than ever to get it right from beginning to end.
What is Automotive SPICE (ASPICE)?
ASPICE started as a variation of the ISO/IEC 15504, or SPICE, standard. SPICE stands for “Software Process Improvement and Capability determination.” The SPICE standard began as a way to provide a framework for independent assessors to evaluate an organization’s capability for software development.
As other teams and manufacturers looked for software suppliers, this SPICE score could serve as one way to evaluate whether the developer can meet certain standards for performance, safety, and quality. Though the SPICE standard didn’t gain much traction in other development fields, it did start to take hold in automotive as German auto manufacturers began using it.
As the standard became focused more toward automotive, the moniker “Automotive SPICE” or “ASPICE” took hold. As it stands now, ASPICE is a process assessment model and a process reference model for software development in the automotive industry. Software teams who design and develop software for the automotive industry should use ASPICE to document processes and measure the maturity of the organization’s processes.
The SPICE standard began as a way to provide a framework for independent assessors to evaluate an organization’s capability for software development.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for additional posts on ASPICE 101 to learn more about this important automotive standard.