Mercedes-Benz Cars R&D CIO Haasis says standards are key in exchanging  information with suppliers (Photo: Daimler)

As vehicles grow in complexity, coordination between carmakers, suppliers and other partners  faces increasing challenges. In answers to written questions, Siegmar Haasis, CIO Research and Development at Mercedes-Benz Cars, discusses the growing relevance of standards and lifts the veil on some of the initiatives Daimler is undertaking in this area.

automotiveIT: Mr. Haasis, you are a strong proponent of standardization in the auto industry. Why is this issue growing in importance in the car industry, especially in the area of systems engineering?

Haasis: Standardization is important for two reasons. One, our Mercedes-Benz Cars business is becoming ever more global and multifaceted, which means we have to connect with international suppliers, joint ventures and automaker partners that tend to operate different systems. That's why we need standards at Daimler. ReqIF (Requirements Interchange Format) is the international standard for the exchange between partners of specifications of parts and systems. The second reason is the continuing further development of internal processes. A key technology here is model-based systems engineering, which will, in future, make it even easier to exactly formulate specifications. Critical is that we continue to coordinate requirements with our partners as best we can and for this process the standard is ReqIF. So, standards in general and ReqIF in particular are of strategic importance for Daimler.

automotiveIT: The management of requirements is in the spotlight because of the big recalls we have seen in recent months. What needs to be done in this area to avoid such problems?

Haasis: The situation shows that vehicles continue to increase in complexity and that initiatives are needed to securely manage this complexity from development to test phase. Product recalls will go down if we better manage the complexity. We feel we can control this complexity through model-based systems engineering. The basis for this are agreed requirements. Requirement management and the exchange of requirements with ReqIF are, therefore, the first step in the direction of model-based systems engineering.

automotiveIT: What steps has Daimler already taken on the road to common standards and what is still on the agenda?

Haasis: We use various standards in Mercedes-Benz Cars engineering IT. They include JT, STEP AP 242 XML and ReqIF. JT is rolled out across the entire company at the moment as a way to describe products in a system-neutral way. For ReqIF, we have added relevant software to our requirements management software. We are testing ReqIF in pilot projects with selected systems suppliers. With regard to systems engineering standards like OSLC, FMI, XMI und SysML, we are testing in what order and how intensively we will deploy them in the future.