Automating the Process Compliance Journey for Self Driving Vehicles Today
By Akshay Sharma – CTO, Kovair Software, Inc.
On April 22nd 2020, Kovair Software and it’s German partner Deutscher Mittelstan presented a fireside chat, and demo of Kovair’s Process Solution which improves engineering productivity & efficiency of the engineering journey – with complete process compliance dashboards, document tracking, quality assurance, remote Workforce Management (WFM), and Project Lifecycle Management – while promoting newer Agile innovations.
This discussion centered around ISO 26262 and Automotive SPICE® (Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination), but in the discussion, we found it is equally valid in other verticals including Avionics, and the Medical Industry.
Legal liabilities are now occurring for failure to comply with the standards in ISO 26262 which sets out safety goals, with Hazard analyses and risk assessments with an assigned Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) which is a functional safety concept describing a system component’s functionality, risk level and likelihood of occurrence. With ISO 26262, both hardware and software aspects are managed with safety lifecycle management. These concepts were demonstrated within Kovair’s tools, with complete tracking, and process compliance dashboards, for both hardware and software, from customer requirements, to systems designs, detailed component designs, test management, defect management, process compliance indicators, workforce management, hazard analyses, risk assessments, to end-to-end product lifecycle management.
Automotive SPICE® takes mainly a software perspective with additional aspects of process model maturity and compliance. This was additionally discussed and Kovair’s solution demonstrated a task-based workflow engine for Workforce Management to see who is doing what, which ironically was demonstrated from home, illustrating WFH: work-from-home capabilities, within Kovair’s solution.
Process Compliance is not a destination but a journey, as it must be adhered throughout the entire product lifecycle, which can be decades, and throughout subsequent iterations of the product.
Too often companies will launch a new product division with everything fully documented, adhered to, for processes like ISO 9001, and other ISO standards, and be successful in obtaining the certifications by initially passing the audits, and then “process-arrogance” sets in, and corners are cut, due to lack of commitment, competence, or complexity of the tools.
As we have seen in examples in the avionics industry, with Boeing’s 737 MAX, systems testing was not done for their MCAS (maneuvering characteristics augmentation system) which is an automation solution as an adjunct “auto-pilot” capability, proper processes were not adhered to, resulting in catastrophic failures.
And in the new world today, an automotive manufacturer can become a medical ventilator manufacturer literally overnight as in the case of General Motors, Tesla and Ford, or in the case of Bell Helicopter, a flying taxi can be built, which is an autonomous flying vehicle. So agile tools are needed that not only support process standards today, but can be configured for newer standards that are needed tomorrow and can help in this transition.
Benefits of Kovair’s Digital Transformation solution:
Kovair’s workflow editor is a task-based flow of actions, which can be replicated for different concurrent teams, such as the case where the same QA team may be testing multiple units and systems concurrently.
Example: Holistic Workflow Automation
Kovair’s Omniprocess Workflow Engine supports the following features:
- Task based workflow in contrast to State based workflow, supporting concurrency,
- Multiple Independent processes at different levels concurrently,
- Web based visual drag & drop design capabilities,
- Conditional Branching, with provision for defining Process Variables
- Capability of Process Simulation to test out newer processes.
Adapting to newer process standards involves changing the workflows, and the underlying document templates required for that standard, such as shifting from Automotive SPICE® to Medical SPICE® in the case of GM, Ford, and Tesla, who are making ventilators currently.
Holistic traceability of all development, test and QA can occur within Kovair’s tools, with inter-tool data consistency, with process compliance maintained, and complete Project Management support with tools like GANTT Charts supported.
Increased productivity by leveraging automation, APIs, s/w bus connectors, and better KPIs/metrics shared across teams can additionally occur with Kovair’s award-winning Omnibus platform supporting inter-tool integration to over 100+ applications and tools.
Shift Left Testing, applying Applications Lifecycle Management to DevOps and newer processes
Vendors like Kovair support “Shift-Left” testing applying ALM (applications lifecycle management) of test operations for newer DevOps deployments as well, with complete management dashboards as below.
As discussed, Product Lifecycle Management with Safety Lifecycle Management is needed with Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessments, within the entire supply chain of the system. This is uniquely offered by Kovair, with it’s product lifecycle management support and integrations with supply chain management solutions vendors as well as PLM Tools integrations.
Product Lifecycle Management with Safety Lifecycle Management within the Supply Chain
Source: Kovair Software 2020
Major Benefits of Kovair’s Process Compliance Solutions
Implications for Business Leaders
To achieve the agility desired with Self Driving Vehicles requires newer processes, methods, and tools, supporting newer workflows, newer analytics, dashboards along with orchestration solutions leading to holistic product lifecycle management, with safety lifecycle management.
With the above, engineers will be able build innovations in multiple domains from automotive, and if needed, have the ability to transition to other industries like the avionics industry for flying taxies in the future, or to the medical industries, by leveraging a common workflow engine. By using a common software bus to newer platforms supporting agile applications, with reconfigurable templates, and a Low-Code, No-Code Drag-Drop user interface is a unique differentiator, that Kovair provides. By leveraging a common data lake for analytics with common Dashboards supporting process compliance indicators, with Workforce Management from Home, newer efficient innovations can result.