By T Murrali
Vector Informatik India, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Vector Germany, is focusing more on solutions for Electromobility, in addition to the existing portfolio. This is because the company, into its 10th year of operations in India, is getting requests from OEMs and system suppliers for support in their drive to electric mobility.
“The Indian OEMs working on EVs, talk to us more than those using existing powertrain technologies because they now have the opportunity to bring in new concepts and methods. We help them to decide by offering the right information with our suggestions for application software in various areas,” Brahmanand Patil, Managing Director, Vector Informatik India, told AutoParts Asia.
“We have been in India from 2009 and we have a set of products for e-mobility. Even the testing and validation products must have some extended features like smart-charge communication or measurement devices supporting high voltages, etc. for e-mobility. We talk about these products to our customers but they may be working in a specific direction on some technologies related to EVs, battery or motor control. However, our products would fit in there and if they have some specific requirements we see if it is feasible for us to come up with a different product,” he said.
Vector is the leading manufacturer of software tools and embedded components for the development of electronic systems and their networking with many different systems from CAN to Automotive Ethernet. The technology it develops helps engineers to manage their demanding tasks. Vector tools, software components and services help to develop the mobility of tomorrow in electromobility, safety and security, ADAS and autonomous driving, AUTOSAR Adaptive and many others. The company provides reliable products and solutions that simplify complex tasks in different application areas such as Tools /services for diagnostics and ECU calibration; Designing / developing networks and networked ECUs; Embedded software and communication ECUs; Measurement technology and Tools and services for testing of ECUs and entire networks. One of the founders of the more than three decades-old German company was the co-inventor of CAN (Controlled Area Network). The company was started to analyse CAN and the first CANalyzer, a product of Vector based on DOS. Now it has several products with the huge increase in electronics and software in vehicles from powertrain to safety to infotainment. The global company has been a partner of automotive manufacturers and suppliers and related industries since 1988. Vector tools and services provide engineers with the decisive advantage to make a challenging and highly complex subject area as simple and manageable as possible. The company works continuously on electronic innovations for the automotive industry. Worldwide customers in the automotive, commercial vehicles, aerospace, transportation, and control technology industries rely on the solutions and products of the independent Vector Group for the development of technologies for future mobility.
Vector is engaged in technical consultancy, support and offering turn-key solutions (HiL Systems, AUTOSAR) to customers in India. “We are part of the development process for every customer, be it Tier-1 or OEM, where our tools are used to specify or design, then to test, validate and so on. We have tools that are physically mapping. In ECU development, testing has been the strong portfolio for us. We have CANoe, which is a strong tool used in CAN open environment. It supports testing right at the BUS (an arrangement in a Local Area Network) level or IOs (input/output) interface with the modelling tools like MathWorks. With hardware-in-loop it can simulate, stimulate and execute the test process. It’s a tool used by every engineer in the development process – to develop, test, integrate and to validate. We have tools also for graphical test developments. With so much of complexity in software, whatever gets developed on the ECUs has to be validated. The approach we take at Vector, which is the approach of customers, is that what is used to specify and develop the software should also be used for testing. There is no requirement lost as it is more file-based that specify the software; the same files go into validation,” he said.
Among the several products by Vector, PREEvision, a model-based electric/electronic development, is a product that gives OEMs the power to have an overview of all the components that are in the vehicle. Patil said, for modelling the entirety of electric/electronic systems, from requirements to software and hardware architecture to the wiring harness, PREEvision provides a comprehensive data model with dedicated abstraction layers. The product offers comprehensive functions for both classic and service-oriented architecture development, requirement management, communication design, safety-related system design, AUTOSAR system and software design as well as wiring harness development. It supports the tried-and-tested system engineering principles of abstraction, decomposition and reuse throughout, he said.
Today, OEMs manage the mechanical components; there are product life-cycle management systems (PLM) but they are not suitable for managing electrical, electronics and software. “PREEvision helps them in designing the network of the vehicle as multiple networks are in it. They have to specify whether they need a new ECU or if the function can be pushed into an existing ECU. It helps them to optimise configurations, design the network, reduce cost, reuse existing ECUs and create avenues for future development. It helps in total control of all parameters. In a nutshell it is like SAP for electric/electronic architecture,” he said.
Talking about how Vector plans or foresees development of products that the OEMs need, based on the future requirements, he said, “We are part of several standards organisations where we contribute from our domain point of view in terms of tooling or standard software. We also invest in new technologies and work with customers in their concept space as partners. In the process we see what can be standardised across sectors. We continue to update all our products. Our CANalyzer supports the internet and all relevant protocols. It is a tool which is still very much in use in the market; we are enhancing it with a new version.”
In India Vector is more of a ‘vertical’ organisation. “For each vertical of its products, it has representation in India. We don’t develop the products but we understand our customers’ nature, application and use and engage with them through our people with adequate technical expertise. We have a team of close to 100 engineers here in Pune and Bengaluru, focused on embedded software, testing, etc. Hardware is not developed here; it is all imported. We don’t see the need to make hardware here as our focus is more on supporting the customer’s using our software tools as the hardware is more for interfaces. The volume of scale doesn’t allow us to manufacture,” he said.
On the scope for India to contribute something for global operations from the software development point of view, he said, the company has a concept of local product line management where products are developed globally and sold in India keeping in mind regional requirements. “The standards and markets could be very different region-wise in India. Based on our feedback the product could be enhanced if necessary. The use of protocols like LIN (local interconnect network) is reducing in the European market which is switching over to CAN, CANFD (CAN with Flexible Data) or the Internet. In India we are adding more LIN to the vehicle so this feedback goes to our main team in Germany that acts accordingly. The US, China, and Japan are all different markets; with a central portfolio of products we are trying to cater to all of them,” Patil said.