IBM tells story of the Chevy Volt’s complex engineering
The Chevrolet Volt is a prime example of the need for unified methods to address the complexity and software content in embedded system design, according to Meg Selfe, vice president for complex and embedded systems at IBM Rational. Selfe’s keynote speech at the Embedded Systems Conference focused on the design and engineering behind Chevy’s breakthrough plug-in vehicle.
According to EE Times, Selfe talked of IBM’s role in helping streamline General Motors’ design process. Due to this streamlining, the Volt went from a showy concept to a production vehicle in just 29 months, compared to the 60-month design cycle of most automobiles. As Selfe stated:
They focused on time to market, and they had to because it was a life or death moment for them. They were in a near-death experience, so they brought together their best thousand engineers. They were changing the way in which they did engineering.
Specifically, GM streamlined the Volt engineering team’s tools and processes and, according to Selfe, “it was like a battle of the tools.” In the end, says Selfe, The General “put more of the design in-house,” which was a risk that paid off.