Automation for automotive: how testing can help the industry scale faster
There’s astonishing growth potential for the automotive industry - and test automation can help OEMs seize this opportunity.
Here, we explain how test automation can enable the automotive industry to scale faster.
By 2030, the global automotive software and electronics market is expected to reach $462 billion, representing a 5.5% CAGR from 2019 to 20301. But with the talent shortage continuing to cause disruptions, traditional computing systems being stretched to their limit, and a range of competing investment priorities, will manufacturers be able to take advantage of the unprecedented growth opportunities afforded by software-defined vehicles?
Many OEMs are missing a trick by overlooking the impact automation testing can make to delivering software innovations and system updates faster.
Automation testing is the process of using software tools to automatically run tests. Instead of relying on human intervention, automation testing tools track, manage and execute tests, which are written in line with specific scripts.
It means repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as regression testing and load testing, can be automated, so you can check that actual results align with those you’re expecting.
The automotive industry is perfectly primed to take advantage of automated testing software. The move towards the software-defined vehicle is set to be the key differentiator between brands. In the past, greater horsepower and increased torque were what mattered. Today and in the future, advances such as autonomous driving and connected vehicles are putting distance between one company and another.
Software is enabling a powerful new battleground for market share: customer experience. Connected cars bring about an incredible opportunity to generate steady income streams throughout the lifetime of a vehicle, with estimates suggesting that recurring services could boost OEM car sales revenue by some 30% in the next decade2. But to deliver innovation at the rate required? There’s a need for smarter processes, which is why test automation could play a pivotal role in meeting this demand; it allows you to release new features faster and more frequently.
Did you know?
Today’s cars typically run on 100 million lines of code3.
Within the software-defined vehicle, there are a number of developments that would benefit from increased automated testing.
The first is infotainment systems and digital cockpits. There’s no question upcoming in-vehicle entertainment services will require new human-machine interfaces to be created. This is no easy task when new concepts such as the Metaverse are gaining pace. How would VR headsets work in a car? Could the entire car’s interior become a screen? For now, though, there’s enough demand for creativity and technical expertise surrounding the software for digital screens and HUD units.
Telematics is another key driver. From in-vehicle digital services and remote diagnostics, to even user behaviour-based insurance, this technology requires software management, firmware and software updates, analytics, connectivity with the cloud, and much more.
Finally, there’s ECUs. A phenomenal amount of software and electronic capability is required for today’s vehicles, and many ECU designs are not modular enough to enable fast and complex software updates. Furthermore, many vehicles do not support over-the-air programming, which automatically updates firmware, software and even encryption keys.
As a result, the industry will move to adopting service-oriented architecture. This enables high performance computers, domain controllers and gateways to act as modular, adaptable and consolidated computing platforms. This is an advancement that would also benefit from automated testing capabilities.
Overtaking your competition
The good news is test automation not only streamlines your QA process, allowing you to deliver innovation faster, but provides distinct competitive advantages too.
- Move to market faster
Automation increases test coverage, so costly bugs can be identified and remedied quickly. The result? You can bring new software updates to market faster, shortening release cycles.
- Greater business growth
Research has shown poor experience is the reason 67% of customers drop off an app4, all of which impacts the bottom line. With test automation, you can boost business performance and brand reputation.
- Build brand trust
The most common error in software testing is untested or broken code, accounting for over 60% of cases5. Guarantee a high-quality product with automated software testing, which puts the customer first.
A transformative approach with test automation
The benefits to automated testing are numerous. When you consider that test failure analysis is the most time-consuming activity within a test cycle6, if automated testing can expedite this process, why wouldn’t you take advantage of this?
While there is an upfront cost to investing in test automation, it more than pays off in the long run - and is a recommended, strategic approach for automotive OEMs to adopt right now.
Eager to learn more about how you can implement test automation? Our latest e-guide tells you how to make automated testing a success in your business.
1 McKinsey & Company, ‘Outlook on the automotive software and electronics market through 2030’, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/automotive-and-assembly/our-insights/mapping-the-automotive-software-and-electronics-landscape-through-2030
2 McKinsey & Company, ‘The new key to automotive success: Put customer experience in the driver’s seat’, https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-new-key-to-automotive-success-put-customer-experience-in-the-drivers-seat
3 Medium, ‘A Modern Car Runs on 100 Million Lines of Code - but Who Will Write Them in the Future?’, https://medium.com/next-level-german-engineering/porsche-future-of-code-526eb3de3bbe
4 99 Firms, ‘Software Testing Statistics’, https://99firms.com/blog/software-testing-statistics/#gref
5 99 Firms, ‘Software Testing Statistics’, https://99firms.com/blog/software-testing-statistics/#gref
6 AIMultiple, ‘Top 20 test automation statistics QA teams must know in 2023’, https://research.aimultiple.com/test-automation-statistics/