Automotive Embedded Software

Accelerate product innovation and delivery for the digital mobility industry. Simplify functional safety compliance and verification in automotive development.

What is automotive embedded software?

Embedded automotive software is special-purpose software that’s built into modern vehicles. Embedded software monitors and controls microprocessors and other hardware packaged in electronic control units (ECUs) to deliver braking, navigation, safety, and other mission-critical automotive systems.


Why are automotive embedded systems in high demand?

Automotive embedded software systems are responsible for the rapid pace of innovation in the transportation sector. Today, high-end vehicles are powered by 70-100 ECUs running over 100 million lines of code. As we move into the future of networked, electric, and autonomous mobility, automated embedded systems will lead the way.

What are the most common applications of automotive embedded systems?


Automotive embedded systems power the engine monitoring and fuel control systems responsible for vehicle speed, torque, and performance.


Climate control, cruise control, and infotainment systems deliver unparalleled, personalized comfort on the road.


Electronic Stability Control, Pedestrian Monitoring, and Active/Passive Safety Restraints respond instantaneously to reduce risk on the road.


Hybrid, electric, alternative fuel and other embedded systems play a crucial role in enabling a zero-waste future.


The future of mobility will be driven by embedded systems that deliver mobility, safety and convenience while minimizing environmental impact.

Automotive customer case studies

Find out why leading automotive developers are choosing PTC’s Codebeamer technology as their ALM tool.


Veoneer Case Study

Find out how Veoneer, a silent partner behind the world’s most advanced vehicles, is using Codebeamer to improve automotive safety.

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LeddarTech Customer Case Study

Find out why LeddarTech chose Codebeamer to support the delivery of cutting-edge environmental sensing solutions for autonomous vehicles.

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Navya Case Study

Navya was the world’s first company to release a commercially available self-driving shuttle. Find out how they modernized their development toolset.

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eSystems Case Study

Find out how eSystems, a Tier 1 automotive supplier working at the crossover of the energy and automotive sector, uses Codebeamer.

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The future of automotive embedded software

In the near future, automotive embedded software will popularize features now available in high-end vehicles, including visual data processing from cameras, radar, and LiDAR data, and Advanced Driver Assistance systems for greater autonomy and safety.

Beyond this horizon, the way we transport people, goods and services is poised to undergo a radical shift. Electrification of vehicles, charging grids, and roadways will transform our environmental footprint. Fully autonomous vehicles will usher in an era of driverless mobility. Fleets of smart, connected vehicles will work collaboratively to deliver 24x7 mobility services that reduce costs, expand access, and enable parking landscapes to be repurposed.


Automotive embedded development solution: Codebeamer

Accelerate product innovation and delivery for the digital mobility industry. Codebeamer is the automotive industry's premier solution to align mechanical, electronics, and software innovation. Simplify functional safety compliance and verification with built-in support for ISO 26262, IEC 61508, Automotive SPICE, CMMI, and more. Ensure alignment across stakeholders, engineering disciplines and suppliers. Combine Agile, Waterfall and Hybrid processes within a single project. Realize efficiencies in product line engineering through reuse. Ensure traceability between requirements, design, development, and issue and defect management, even across parallel streams of development.


Frequently asked questions

What are some examples of automotive systems built with embedded software?

ECUs powered by embedded software deliver a broad range of capabilities, including electronic stability control, anti-lock braking, adaptive cruise control, airbag control, navigation, automatic parking systems, and more.

How is automotive embedded systems development unique?

Unlike other types of software development, automotive embedded systems typically:

  • Are packaged in ECUs that deliver discrete functionality and cannot be repurposed
  • Control parts that are not easily updated and must operate flawlessly over the life of the vehicle
  • Are extremely complex, requiring the collaboration of multiple requirements, design, development, and test stakeholders
  • Must meet the highest levels of availability, safety, and reliability
  • Are connected both with other onboard embedded systems and remote systems such as GPS
  • Require real-time response, mandating a real-time operating system (RTOS) and programming language
  • Are collaboratively developed within complex automotive supply chains
  • Operate within a low-power consumption environment

What is the regulatory landscape for automotive embedded software?

Regulatory standards and guidelines in the automotive sector govern vehicle safety, quality, and functionality, as well as the rigor of processes used to create them. An ALM platform with built-in support for automotive standards can streamline compliance and focus on innovation. Three standards are especially important:

  • ISO 26262 governs functional safety requirements of electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic systems in production vehicles. Users must take safety measures to avoid, detect, control, or mitigate systematic and random hardware failures.
  • IEC 61508 governs functional safety of electrical, electronic, and programmable safety-related systems. Organizations must assess, document, and mitigate safety functions failures.
  • Automotive Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination (ASPICE) defines software development best practices in the automotive sector, empowering teams to continuously assess and improve their development processes.
  • Automotive Open System Architecture (AUTOSAR) is a global partnership of leading automotive companies dedicated to enabling greater reuse, standardization, and interoperability in the automotive sector. As the automotive industry embraces highly automated driving, safety and performance will increasingly require the ability to sense and respond to other vehicles, as well as external environmental factors. AUTOSAR’s emerging standards are paving the way to the smart, connected mobility systems of the future.