A day after it inaugurated its new plant in Chennai, Nexteer Automotive has opened its new software center in Bangalore as part of its strategy to capitalise on growing demand for its software-enabled functionality in advanced steering applications. The India Software Center (ISC) is the latest addition to the company’s global team, joining software centers in Saginaw, USA; Tychy, Poland; and Suzhou, China.
The ISC expands Nexteer’s software development by focusing on downstream software production and validation – ensuring quality and compliance with regulations. Meanwhile, Nexteer’s Global Technical Center in the US – in tandem with regional Technical Centers in Poland and China – will continue upstream software development and R&D innovation.
“Software plays an increasingly important role in the safety and performance of Nexteer’s advanced steering systems,” said Robin Milavec, vice-president of Global Engineering, Nexteer Automotive. “We view our software and electronic capabilities as key differentiators – especially as the market demand and steering function complexity grows with driver assist features and varying levels of automated driving. Nexteer is committed to deploying a best-in-class global team that delivers innovative solutions with speed, flexibility and seamless vehicle integration.”
India software team to grow to 200
Currently, Nexteer’s ISC employs almost 100 Nexteer software engineers with plans to grow to 200 employees by the end of 2019. These engineers work on all aspects of software and calibration projects – from architecture development through delivery.
“The abundance of highly skilled software engineers in Bengaluru will help Nexteer recruit top talent who can help us meet our global customers’ growing demands for Nexteer’s smart software solutions,” said Usha Holalkere, Engineering and Operations Director, Nexteer India Software Center. “The ISC engineers are part of Nexteer’s global team that works on the industry’s leading edge – creating designs for varying levels of automated driving and cyber security.”
Software's role in steering safety, performance
“Software is core to our steering systems in terms of safety and steering feel. For example, in Nexteer’s High Availability EPS, multi-path processing software runs alongside dual hardware to ensure that steering assist is always on. Another example is Nexteer’s Steer-by-Wire where electronics and actuators replace the mechanical connection between the steering wheel and road wheels. In this case, software actually simulates the feel of different road surfaces and communicates this to the driver. These are important factors in both safety and performance,” said Milavec.
“Software also plays a key role in cyber security. Our cyber security technologies consist of specifically designed hardware modules on the semi-conductor level, as well as a multi-layered cryptographic software structure, that identifies and authorizes information and command flow between the steering system and other in-vehicle or external controllers. As vehicles adopt advanced electronics to enable driver assist and automated driving, internet connectivity and V2X communication, cyber-secure steering technologies become ever more critical.”
Why quality software is critical to the company's products is because adding functionality and advanced safety features to its steering systems means the number of lines of code required is astounding: 14.3 million lines of code (and growing) required in Nexteer’s Steer-by-Wire; and 4.3 million lines of code required in Nexteer’s EPS – compared to 400,000 lines of code required in the first space shuttle.