Taking DevOps Back for an Automotive Drive

July 8, 2021

iauro Team

Contributing immensely to the global software solutions ecosystem. DevOps | Microservices | Microfrontend | DesignThinking LinkedIn

The DevOps pipeline is similar to the automotive industry, where there used to be an assembly line where auto workers assembled every part to make the entire vehicle complete. The point is that the automotive industry is already operating on the principles of Lean, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and so on, and the car of the future is no longer manually driven. Now artificial intelligence has become the steering wheel in most automotive organizations, where software installations and updates are more urgently needed than ever. Digital systems provide driving entertainment and services that go far beyond simple transportation.

Every company is a software company these days, and we all depend on software for our daily lives. As a result, even older car and manufacturing companies are turning to software for a variety of needs. IT companies are increasingly becoming such companies by adopting software development methodologies that enable them to release incremental software releases that are both tested and reliable.

Why DevOps in the Automotive Industry?

Technology is advancing at a faster pace and people expect everything to happen automatically and quickly, of course, with safety and quality. This has pushed the automotive industry to innovate and move forward quickly to not only beat the competition but also build customer trust and reputation. The only way any organization can excel in this aspect is through software development involvement.

The automotive industry has reached this stage where updating, upgrading, improving, and repairing devices now often involves developing and deploying software updates rather than manually troubleshooting hardware. Achieving the trust, authenticity, and pace of automation development needed to support this new model is anything but DevOps practices.

Establishing a DevOps practice for the automotive industry is challenging and requires strong forward-thinking skills to align with technology. DevOps gives automakers faster time to market, lower development costs, minimal service interruption, and consistent quality.

Today, some cars boast over 300 million lines of code

DevOps, the software built into the vehicle, is not easy. The automotive industry faces unique challenges when it comes to delivering software due to its complex test matrix and deployment process, as well as its rigorous safety, regulatory, and compliance rules.

DevOps and CI / CD automation allow automakers to accelerate releases while ensuring security and reducing the risk of software release failures / recalls.

The ISO / IEC 15504 standard, also known as Automotive SPICE (Software Process Improvement and Capability Decision), defines a set of key documents in the software development process. This is just one such standard in the automotive industry. Others include Automotive Open System Architecture (AUTOSAR), IEC 61508, ISO 26262, and MISRA C.

People want more advanced features than self-driving, driving assistance, or self-parking. We know that for some manufacturers these things are already a reality. How cool is it when you leave your car in the parking lot and press a simple button on your phone and the car finds a spot and shoots? Do you need DevOps principles here? Of course yes.

According to a survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, human error accounts for almost 94% of all road accidents. To reward this extraordinary number, car companies and developers are making cars safer by making them digitally smart through a cloud-native approach.

There are several safety features that car companies are working on, including blind-spot monitoring, self-parking, driver attention monitoring, and front and rear collision warnings. All of these features rely on sensors installed in the car to detect and even notice the ever-changing environment. This poses the challenge for software developers working in the automotive industry to ensure that embedded devices are reliable, efficient, and adaptable to these safety features. This is very important not only for DevOps, but also at every stage of the software delivery pipeline, including continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment including security.

The Mechanism Behind DevOps in the Automotive Industry

We all know that cars are very powerful machines, we use them on a daily basis, and driving is dangerous. But we’re still doing it because it has become a basic necessity. Pay attention to road rules and traffic lights, stay calm and avoid sending text messages while driving.

Increasingly, the steering and wheels of these powerful machines are being handed over to the software. Software powers today’s automobiles, so we need to make software that is not only faster and better but also safer. It requires a continuous flow to improve updates.

Tesla’s Liquid Software:

Tesla’s Secret Weapon-Over the Air (OTA) Update.

Can we call it Tesla’s DevOps, or the future of the automotive industry? Maybe both.
A clear example of how important wireless software (OTA) updates are these days. Software updates have to flow like liquid. The power of IoT and DevOps is a deadly combination. The future of the automobile industry is OTA (Over The Air Software Updates). Nowadays, even the simplest computers can automatically update software remotely with little or no effort.

Tesla is a pioneer in wireless updates that allows you to send sophisticated new features to your vehicle as well as fix bugs. This is where I think Tesla has an advantage over other car makers. Tesla vehicle owners are happy and stress-free as their vehicles get better and better each time they get an update. Getting new advanced features every few months, as well as bug fixes, is like getting a new car. Tesla once encountered a braking problem, but then a brake update was sent OTA and fixed in a week. This was a much more viable option instead of recalling the entire fleet as used to happen before.

Let’s take a look at some examples of the use of DevOps in the automotive sector.


Use of DevOps in Jaguar Land Rover

It took some time for Land Rover engineers to convince senior management about the benefits of DevOps. It all started when engineers were allowed to attend the 2016 DevOps Enterprise Summit in San Francisco. Books such as the Phoenix Project were handed over there, which prompted the DevOps journey.
After returning from the summit, they started working on DevOps ideas, so they built a server, started with Linux and Git, and ran open-source software. They started with three simple projects and then gradually incorporated the ideas of continuous integration and automated testing into each team.

They ran all the builds using the Docker container. And along with that, they defined every part of the build infrastructure as code.

During that time, the engineers and infrastructure team faced many problems, but they didn’t give up. Ultimately, by automating the build process, we were able to reduce the time it takes to get feedback on new features from about 4-6 weeks to just 30 minutes.

Use of DevOps in Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is one of the world’s largest luxury car companies. The company employs over 5,000 developers worldwide who are experimenting with the latest technologies to create the most advanced, high-performance, safe, and comfortable luxury vehicles. Thus, with teams in multiple geographic locations, development, security, and operations teams faced challenges across time zones and improved delivery speed and quality, but were able to overcome these challenges with an automated and secure DevOps pipeline.
The company follows a flat hierarchy and believes in the following factors to be able to use DevOps:

• Duty • freedom • Autonomy • Quick solutions

As a DevOps path, the product owner comes up with an idea, writes a story, and puts it into an issue tracker, and a software engineer takes the story and starts implementing it, and also starts committing the code to his git repository. The CI / CD then does its part of generating the code, and then the deployment happens to the test environments, and then the testing phase takes over. Then, finally, there is release and final deployment to production. Much of their pipeline is automated.

DevOps at UBER – A Story of Scaling and Prosperity

UBER’s technological philosophy is based on “bits + atoms” = technology that allows physical objects to be moved around the world.

What does DevOps look like at UBER?

Since its inception, Uber has been using technology. He openly used continuous delivery and DevOps techniques to deliver great features. Speaking of scale at UBER,

  • Thousands of microservices,
  • 1000 assemblies per day
  • 10,000+ deployments per day
  • 100k + service containers per cluster
  • ~ 1m containers per day

UBER has moved from Nodejs to Golang as their main programming language, which allows them to do things even faster.

Your drive being constantly updated

As we saw in the news recently, planes have to be turned off and on at a certain time due to some software bug. It becomes critical to understand that many lives are at risk due to such problems. The principle of continuous software flow is a need for an hour, and with continuous updates, cars should be safer than a software bug that ever triggers a recall, as it did with Jaguar’s brake problem.

Autonomous cars keep getting better and more attentive, with updated improvements to allow you to run more miles. Continuous software updates are essential to improve the performance of these vehicles. Happy Tesla owners regularly appear in the news and tweet about new opportunities that just appear to make their experience better. It also brings moral satisfaction to software developers working on such software updates and makes the vehicle more functional.

Usually, we all thought of the car as a depreciating asset, but not now, because we all know that software simply improves performance and quality through iterations of feedback and frequent software updates.

It doesn’t matter how much technology and software improve our lives, but when it comes to cars, most of the time we take cars for granted. Just sit down, go wherever you want, park, and just leave it in the parking lot without even thinking about the complex, impressive process that takes place inside the car. And these days as we work with the software for these cars, we are very grateful to share our heartfelt wishes with everyone working behind the scenes to make people’s lives safer on the road.


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