Competition in the automotive industry is intense. Successful companies must constantly innovate by introducing new features, many of which contain significant amounts of software. The automobile was transformed from a primarily mechanical device, into an integrated machine with embedded software in all major systems including: engine control, power train, suspension, braking, and entertainment.
Controlling cost of automotive embedded systems is extremely important for automotive industry suppliers since you have much higher volume than other safety-critical industries like avionics. Software testing has traditionally been very expensive, but the cost of finding software bugs now versus the direct costs and damaged product branding associated with recalls makes thorough testing a necessity in the automotive industry.
Automotive Software Verification and Validation Standards
ISO 26262 and MISRA are the two software standards applying to verification and validation of vehicle based software.
ISO 26262 is a Functional Safety standard titled "Road vehicles -- Functional safety". The standard is an adaptation of the Functional Safety standard IEC 61508 for Automotive Electric/Electronic Systems. Part 6 of this standard addresses the recommendations for software testing and verification as part of the standard for software development.
Recommended activities include both unit level and system level testing such as functional tests (requirement-based tests and partition tests) and structural coverage tests. VectorCAST tools support capture and reporting of structural code coverage for all Automotive Safety Integrity Levels (ASIL) required by ISO 26262. ASIL is the automotive-specific risk-based approach for determining product risk classes. Risk classes are defined as Level A though D, with ASIL D representing the highest risk due to a failure.