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V-cycle strains as cars morph into consumer gadgets

The consumerization of the car is pressuring carmakers to have shorter, more flexible design cycles. This is problematic for design teams using the traditional approach to the V-cycle, usually composed of disconnected processes that make it especially difficult to respond to the gadget, quick-turn trend. What’s needed is a controlled and seamless flow of data across departments — also automation and abstraction of requirements such as auditing changes and modeling new functionality, both in terms of correctness and cost. And ideally, design tools should link all the way to the creation of service documentation, a major challenge given the exploding number of vehicle configurations.


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Shrinking design cycle times cause errors

Manual design processes are slow and error-prone, contradictory to two aspirational attributes we’re trying to achieve - speed and correctness. As much as possible, design processes must be automated to remove the engineer from the critical path of inconsequential decision making. Instead, the engineer should be working at a higher level to populate the rules that automation will use to make thousands of tiny decisions. These rules can then be reused throughout an organization to ensure consistency in design quality. The main challenge in this new connected-car era building is more supple and flexible design flows, which enable us to adapt to changes in customer preferences more apt to be shaped by smartphones than engine specs.