In today’s environment, when modern vehicles are increasing their reputation for performance, quality and value for money, succeeding in the market place is ever more dependent on the ability to employ new technology in all aspects of the business.

As project schedules get even shorter, the pressure on software development and target hardware costs get ever greater, and the potential recall and safety issues due to electronic systems malfunction becomes ever more calculable. With more than 85% of the functionality in the modern motor vehicle now controlled by software, both the motor vehicle manufacturer and the supplier need to take action to address these issues.

The motor vehicle manufacturers have started to take pro-active action to address the situation; by focussing on software capability of the supplier in the supplier evaluation process; making provision for contractual demands with respect to software quality: and in performing supplier software capability assessments both before and during contract performance.

The focus on software capability assessment has already provided significant business benefits in use, but at the same time has highlighted the scale of the potential problem, particularly with suppliers of safety-critical embedded software system components. In a major initiative, the Automotive Special Interest Group (SIG), a joint special interest group of The SPICE User Group and The Procurement Forum, launched the Automotive SPICE® initiative together with the major motor vehicle manufacturers to develop a common framework for the assessment of suppliers in the Automotive Industry. The result is the publication of the Automotive SPICE® Process Assessment Model together with the associated Process Reference Model.

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