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Bosch: Gasoline Systems Engine Control Software

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services in the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods and building technology. Gasoline Systems (GS) is one of Bosch’s largest automotive business units delivering a complete portfolio of products for gasoline engine controls to automotive industry and aftermarket. More than 1000 developers at GS design and apply the software of gasoline engine control units.

Engine controls are deeply embedded, highly complex real time systems controlling combustion engines in innumerable cars all around the world. Our software systems must deal with a set of outstanding requirements: extreme variability, permanently growing complexity, extreme pressure on cost, distributed development with car manufacturers and standardization initiatives. Automotive market dynamics require producing hundreds of program versions per year.

This challenge of mastering increasing complexity at low cost, with high quality and with shorter time to market was the main driver for starting improvement initiatives regarding process and product excellence in 2000. Concerning process improvement GS achieved CMM Level 3 in 2002. With respect to product excellence, GS management committed the introduction of the product line approach, major milestones being the definition of the product line scope, software architecture design and refactoring of core assets.

The initial product line scope “Standard Motronic” supported most of our market segments with a scaleable solution. In 2003, the separation of the product line “Value Motronic” explicitly addressed market segments that are very cost sensitive and that can be limited to the use of basic functional features. Value Motronic now has successfully entered emerging markets in Asia and Eastern Europe.

Software architecture was defined by end of 2002, additionally supporting the start of common software development with Diesel Systems (DS). The architecture separates three major classes of software: common basic software, common vehicle application software providing a context for the third class, specific functions to control Diesel and Gasoline engines. This basic, reuse-oriented structure is enhanced by a layer model to support hardware and device driver encapsulation. Component based development is supported by XML based exchange formats and a powerful tool chain.

Refactoring of the engine specific application software took over 3 years, using an evolutionary approach based on the existing asset base. Besides the adaptation to the defined scope and conformity with architecture, the most important results were the improvement of non functional requirements: reducing resource consumption by 20…30%, minimizing calibration effort and supporting increased reuse.

Today GS has established a strong market focus driving the product line development. Management is able to assess the status and quality of the product line development based on reuse and quality metrics. This has lead to better control of the product line development and especially supports business oriented product line evolution. GS has successfully entered new emerging markets with the Value Motronic and currently also regains market share in the standard segments. Applying product line methodology can be considered as the key that enabled GS to produce suitable software products facilitating this success.


“Introducing PLA at Bosch Gasoline Systems: Experiences and Practices.” M. Steger, C. Tischer, B. Boss, A. Müller, O. Pertler, W. Stolz, & S. Ferber. Nord, R. (ed.), Proceedings SPLC3, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 0302-9743, vol. 3154. Springer, 2004. Page: 34-50. Boston. ISBN: 3540229183.

Bosch Gasoline Systems: Engine Control Software Product Line. C. Tischer & A. Müller

Software Product Lines in Action. F. Van der Linden, K. Schmid, & E. Rommes. Springer, 2007, Ch. 9.

“Why does it take that long? – Establishing Product Lines in the Automotive Domain.” C. Tischer, A. Müller, & Geyer L. Ketterer. Proceedings SPLC2007.

About This Product Line

Bosch was inducted into the Product Line Hall of Fame at The 11th International Software Product Line Conference (SPLC 2007).