To create a sustainable business model that allows for new technologies and solutions to be worked upon, standardisation is critical. One such organisation working on creating standards in the area of testing and ECU development is ASAM, short for Association for Standardization of Automation and Measuring Systems. We recently had the opportunity to interact with Thomas Thomsen, Global Technology Manager and Simon Preis, Business Manager, ASAM.
ASAM is a worldwide membership base consisting of OEMs, Tier I suppliers and tool suppliers. The present standards have primarily been created in Germany with international participation, as most of the members are German companies. ASAM now plans to focus on spreading awareness about its created standards and the benefits of adopting them in the Indian market. India quite naturally comes across as a potentially positive market and will prove beneficial in the long-run, said Thomsen.
Once companies adopt ASAM standards, their dependence on some specific suppliers will be reduced, informed Preis. The development cost too is reduced significantly as every process doesn’t need to be created from scratch. In absence of such standards, OEMs need to carry out development and sourcing of tools, interfaces and other related items on their own. This pushes up the cost significantly apart from slowing down the work’s pace.
While the organisation is looking at creating new members here, it doesn’t plan to establish an office here. Until they have enough members to justify the need of an office, they’ll continue to operate through representatives. There have been discussions with multiple companies in India but Preis thinks it might take some time before one can see a widespread adoption of ASAM standards here. ASAM standards are already being used by the US, European and Japanese automotive industry.
Many Indian companies are indirectly using these standards, since the tools being used by them here are mostly American or European, and are already compliant of ASAM standards. A significant change is likely to take place at a point when the OEMs progress to a level, where they want to influence standards. In the beginning, OEMs follow standards but as they progress technically, they want to influence standards to better suit their requirements in a fair way. It is then that the company starts actively participating in standard development and becomes an active member.
Preis told us that ASAM standards’ growth will primarily be driven by OEMs. “If an OEM pushes its suppliers to adopt these standards in wake of the benefits, the suppliers will take up the membership easily,” he said. OEMs would adopt such standards as they prefer to have a choice between different systems. A turnkey solution might not always be the best one around. Preis explained that a decade back or so, an OEM had only one system in place, which made it difficult to exchange data or connect other systems to the main system. This can now be achieved with ASAM standards.
An interesting conclusion from the discussion was that while the results for OEMs seem positive, the perception could be different among the supplier community. Smaller suppliers would benefit from ASAM participation as they’ll be able to pitch their products to large companies, since their ASAM compliance would put them at the same level as others. A large supplier, however, may prefer a close-ended system as that would allow it to keep its customers with itself. However, even large suppliers can benefit greatly from ASAM standards and conveying this is going to be a key focus for the organisation across the globe in the coming years.
ASAM standards briefly explained:
AE: automotive electronics
Standards-based solutions can make it easier to integrate low-cost off-the-shelf solutions in unique ways to provide better features to customers.
CAT: computer aided testing
A typical test cell might consist of a test automation system that controls all of the equipment, a dynamometer or emissions test stand that interfaces with the vehicle.
In 2007, Bosch agreed to give the rights of the measurement data format (MDF) to ASAM. A common project team of experts from Vector Informatik, ETAS and dSPACE collected requirements for an enhanced MDF version. In 2009, the standard was released as ASAM COMMON MDF V4.0.0