E/E systems development

What is E/E systems development?

E/E systems development is the robust integration of three electrical design domains and disciplines – systems, software and electrical. Figure 1 displays a modern E/E system engineering solution supported by a common core of data management, change handling and other application infrastructure technologies. These software tools encompass and integrate the three electrical design domains and disciplines – systems, software and electrical. In the first stage, early modeling inputs are consumed by engineers who develop system architecture proposals. E/E design alternatives are evaluated and refined, optimized and studied – with preferred conceptual solutions moving forward with an enriched data set, appropriately validated. Then, this moves downstream in two tracks – one implementing the electrical interconnect system, while the other implements the software functions and associated networks.

A diagram showing how E/E systems development works.

E/E architecture and system models

The first stage involves bringing together program/platform requirements with technical standards and design rules, including multi-domain system models of features and functionality. Once multi-domain modeling is complete, engineers can extract the E/E aspects, which enable them to develop a functional definition of the E/E system and the system architecture. This enables the optimization of the entire architecture by performing trade studies considering functional allocations, connectivity and more. From this, engineers can extract a bill-of-functions (BOF), which can be passed from the E/E system engineering solution to electronic design tools for multi-board printed circuit board (PCB) design.

E/E architecture software and network development

Following the E/E system definition stage, the next step is to develop a software component and architecture design using an E/E architecture design tool. The outputs of E/E system definition stage are sent to specialist tools for software and networks design and development. The multi-domain models and requirements are used to design and develop the functional software using the software modeling tool, turning the required functionality into architected software with source code ready for integration. The networks architecture description can be fed into the network’s design tool where detail design, modeling and analysis can optimize and verify the in-vehicle communication networks. These elements are bought together for each ECU in the software implementation tool. The functional software and networks configuration flow to the embedded software implementation stage where the AUTOSAR middleware software is configured and the functional software is integrated for target ECUs using AUTOSAR tools.

Electrical harness design

The electrical distribution system (EDS) is designed logically and physically, then verified by correct-by-construction methods using active design rule checks (DRCs). These run in the background when designing electrical systems and catch errors during all stages of design.

Modern E/E systems engineering solutions are built upon data and process backbones. They enable high levels of automation, data coherency and integration with adjacent domains, such as mechanical design. This E/E data management system enables traceability across all domains, which is a key element of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) for managing design changes, product configurations and verification from start to finish in the development process. This digital backbone allows OEMs to better serve the demands of their customers by enabling greater agility and flexibility in product design and manufacturing.

As E/E systems become increasingly complex, development is executed in the context of MBSE. At Siemens, we move into other domains to deliver an integrated system, including MCAD, PLM and application lifecycle management (ALM) systems. Advanced and integrated E/E system development tools are required to deliver today’s sophisticated products in the following industries: automotive, aerospace, heavy equipment and industrial.

A model-based approach to E/E systems development

In E/E systems development, digitalization is manifested by moving to a model-based approach. That means applying digital models of the platform’s mechanical and E/E systems to the development life cycle. A multi-disciplinary, electro-mechanical digital twin is created, connecting all the stages of E/E system development by a digital thread. This enables model-based architecture design and optimization, model-based domain implementation, and model-based validation and verification. At Siemens, we recognize the critical need to integrate electrical, networks, software and electronics, simulating these collectively to create a digital twin that reflects the functional elements of a product.

Capital: Siemens’ E/E systems development portfolio

The Capital electrical and electronics (E/E) systems development software portfolio encompasses E/E system and software architectures, network communications and embedded software development capabilities.

These enable:

1. Model-based E/E system architecture development, including optimal allocation of hardware and software functions.

2. The transformation of system models into end-to-end, optimized electrical, electronic, network and software outcomes.

Upstream, the three building blocks link to platform-level requirements and multi-domain system models, ensuring that the E/E architect remains aligned with the overall system requirements and constraints. Downstream, they provide executable E/E system descriptions for overall system verification and validation. Capital includes domain-specific data and process management, alongside native integration to the Xcelerator PLM data backbone. It also enables E/E system implementation in the context of the platform’s physical environment, through mechanical co-design.