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AUTOSAR (AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture) is a worldwide development partnership of automotive interested parties founded in 2003. It pursues the objective of creating and establishing an open and standardized software architecture for automotive electronic control units excluding infotainment. Goals include the scalability to different vehicle and platform variants, transferability of software, the consideration of availability and safety requirements, a collaboration between various partners, sustainable utilization of natural resources, maintainability throughout the whole "Product Life Cycle".[1][2]


In order to develop and establish an open industry standard for automotive E/E architecture, the AUTOSAR development partnership was formed in July 2003 by BMW, Bosch, Continental, DaimlerChrysler, Siemens VDO and Volkswagen. In November 2003, Ford Motor Company joined as a Core Partner. Peugeot Citroën Automobiles S.A. and Toyota Motor Corporation joined the partnership in December 2003. General Motors became Core Partner in November 2004.[3] After Siemens VDO was acquired by Continental in February 2008, it is no longer a self-contained Core Partner of AUTOSAR.[4]

Since 2003, AUTOSAR has provided four major releases of the standardized automotive software architecture and one release of Acceptance Tests. The work of AUTOSAR can be divided into three phases:

  • Phase I (2004-2006): Basic development of the standard (Releases 1.0, 2.0 and 2.1)
  • Phase II (2007-2009): Extension of the standard in terms of architecture and methodology (Releases 3.0, 3.1 and 4.0)
  • Phase III (2010-2013): Maintenance and selected improvements (Releases 3.2, 4.1 and 4.2)[5][6]

In 2013, the AUTOSAR consortium entered a continuous working mode to maintain the standard and provide selected improvements (including the release R4.2 as well as Release 1.0 of Acceptance Tests).

Concept and goals

AUTOSAR provides a set of specifications that describe basic software modules, defines application interfaces and builds a common development methodology based on standardized exchange format. Basic software modules made available by the AUTOSAR layered software architecture can be used in vehicles of different manufacturers and electronic components of different suppliers, thereby reducing expenditures for research and development and mastering the growing complexity of automotive electronic and software architectures.[7] Based on this guiding principle, AUTOSAR has been devised to pave the way for innovative electronic systems that further improve performance, safety and environmental friendliness and to facilitate the exchange and update of software and hardware over the service life of the vehicle. It aims to be prepared for the upcoming technologies and to improve cost-efficiency without making any compromise with respect to quality.[8][9]

Software architecture

AUTOSAR uses a three-layered architecture:[10]

  • Basic Software: standardized software modules (mostly) without any functional job itself that offers services necessary to run the functional part of the upper software layer.[11]
  • Runtime environment: Middleware which abstracts from the network topology for the inter- and intra-ECU information exchange between the application software components and between the Basic Software and the applications.[12]
  • Application Layer: application software components that interact with the runtime environment.[13]

The AUTOSAR Methodology

  • System Configuration Description includes all system information and the information that must be agreed between different ECUs (e.g. definition of bus signals).
  • ECU extract: is the information from the System Configuration Description needed for a specific ECU (e.g. those signals where a specific ECU has access to).
  • ECU Configuration Description: contains all basic software configuration information that is local to a specific ECU. The executable software can be built from this information, the code of the basic software modules and the code of the software components.[14]

Acceptance Tests

In 2014 AUTOSAR Acceptance Tests were introduced to minimize the test effort and test costs. Acceptance Test Specifications are system tests specifications with interfaces to the application and the bus. The specification of standard acceptance tests contribute to these objectives.[15]

Standardized Application Interfaces

Standardization of functional interfaces across manufacturers and suppliers and standardization of the interfaces between the different software layers is seen as a basis for achieving the technical goals of AUTOSAR.[16]


Membership of AUTOSAR is separated in four different types. The contribution of partners varies depending on the type of partnership:[17]

  • Core Partners
  • Premium Partners
  • Associate Partners
  • Development Partners

Core Partners include the founding partners BMW, Bosch, Continental, Daimler AG, Ford, General Motors, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Toyota and Volkswagen.[18] These companies are responsible for organization, administration and control of the AUTOSAR development partnership.[19] Within this core, the Executive Board defines the overall strategy and roadmap.[20] The Steering Committee manages day-to-day non-technical operations and admission of partners, public relations and contractual issues.[21] A spokesperson, appointed for nine month and supported by a Deputy Spokesperson[22], communicates with the outside world.[23][24]

Premium and Development members contribute to work packages coordinated and monitored by the Project Leader Team established by the Core Partners.[25][26]

As of January 2015, more than 180 companies participate in the AUTOSAR development partnership.[27]


  1. "Elektrobit Automotive: AUTOSAR". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  2. "AUTOSAR". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  3. "AUTOSAR: Background". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  4. "AUTOSAR: Background". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  5. "AUTOSAR: Shaping the future of a Global Standard" (PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  6. "AUTOSAR – The worldwide automotive standard for e/e systems". ATZextra (10/2013): 7. October 2013. 
  7. "AUTOSAR: Shaping the future of a Global Standard" (PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  8. "AUTOSAR: Motivation & Goals". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  9. "Elektrobit Automotive: AUTOSAR". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  10. "AUTOSAR – The worldwide automotive standard for e/e systems". ATZextra (10/2013): 9–10. October 2013. 
  11. "AUTOSAR: Basic Software". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  12. "AUTOSAR: Runtime Environment". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  13. "AUTOSAR: Software". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  14. "AUTOSAR: Methodology". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  15. "AUTOSAR: Acceptance Tests". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  16. "AUTOSAR: Technical Overview". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  17. "AUTOSAR: Basic Information" (PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  18. "AUTOSAR: Core Partners". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  19. "AUTOSAR: Basic Information" (PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  20. "AUTOSAR: Executive Board". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  21. "AUTOSAR: Steering Committee". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  22. "Autopresse: Autonews". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  23. "AUTOSAR: Spokesperson". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  24. "AUTOSAR – The worldwide automotive standard for e/e systems". ATZextra (10/2013): 6–7. October 2013. 
  25. "AUTOSAR: Basic Information" (PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  26. "AUTOSAR: Project Leader Team". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  27. "AUTOSAR: Basic Information" (PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2015. 

Further reading

External links