Dassault Systèmes made an intriguing announcement this morning. Alongside the Q4 and 2010 year earning (if you’re interested revenue growth of 20% to €1.56 billion; new licenses revenue up 30%), there was an announcement from BMW, extending the deals already announced around a year ago concerning Catia and Simulia.
BMW has signed up for V6 as the backbone for development of its future electrical, electronics, and embedded software (E/E) architecture of its cars. According to the release, the Architecture, Integration and Design for Automotive Project (AIDA), will see BMW implement a “seamless collaborative process to connect the various constituents and actors of the E/E process, putting BMW’s customers’ values at the centre of the innovation process. By leveraging Dassault Systèmes’ V6 to create a single IP reference, BMW will link customer requirements to implementable functions in the car, while defining the logical architecture of the systems and releasing the physical expression in form of hardware and software.”
It continued with “BMW will leverage the V6 solution to manage the future complexity of embedded systems in the car by providing a master architecture for all car derivations and enabling a constant modernisation of car functions. The re-use of functions and the separation of hardware and software components in the development process will help BMW gain significant cost savings in the E/E domain.”
DS has been making some serious moves in the systems engineering space over the few years to get into this field and bring it all under the same PLM umbrella and allow customers to manage almost everything associated with complex products from within the same environment. Looking back over the last year, one of the most significant moves that seemed to have slipped by unnoticed was DS’s acquisition of Geensoft, which brought them tools to model and generate vehicle control system software.
Signing a 10 year deal with BMW is a solid validation of the work it’s been doing.
It certainly is an interesting time in the automotive world. As we’ve said only recently, vehicles are shifting away from fossil fuel based systems that have been the status quo since 1885 (Mr Ford was well behind the times) and into brand new territory. Looking at what BMW are doing, their current concepts are a radical shift away and the vehicles they have now are going to look dated and practically pre-historical if any of its plans make it to production. There’s also huge co-operative work at play in the automotive world. BMW is working with French car maker Peugeot to develop new hybrid drive systems and this is just the tip of the iceberg (note: PSA is also a DS house in many respects).
For once, the release also contained a quote from a software executive that pretty much sums up how I feel about the subject. Dominique Florack, senior executive vice president, products – R&D at Dassault Systèmes said “The car of the future cannot be built with the processes and tools from the past.”
Couldn’t have put it better myself.