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Safety Cluster – "Core DNA of ASTech"

Nina Eichenseher,

A talk with project manager Andreas about the safety cluster. What is it about and why is it a great opportunity for ASTech?

Andreas, please explain briefly what the “Safety Cluster” is.

From a functional point of view, the Safety Cluster refers to a package of predictive safety functions that is to be developed for the new electronics platform in the VW Group. This then forms the common basis for many electric vehicle models that are to come onto the market in the coming years.

For ASTech, the Safety Cluster means a strategic cooperation with CARIAD. This includes function development, large parts of software development, test and validation activities, but also topics such as functional safety and quality assurance.

It is not about the development of individual components, but rather the combination of various predictive safety functions into an overall package.

Concretely, about what functions is the Safety Cluster, among other things?

It is about systems of predictive partner and occupant protection. Nobody likes to be involved in an accident, so we try to recognize dangerous situations before something bad happens. If possible, we can then initiate countermeasures or at least ensure that the effects are not quite as bad.

In the case of the safety cluster, for example, we are talking about the warning brake assistant in the rear area or proactive occupant protection. The latter aims to reduce the severity of an accident: This includes, for example, belt tightening, switching on the hazard warning lights and closing the windows.  What we will also work on, among other things, are features related to Car2X communication.

Why is the Safety Cluster a great opportunity for ASTech?

Because it gives us a long-term perspective. Our employees have the opportunity to work on exciting tasks related to vehicle safety. This is the core DNA of ASTech that we are working on here.

Furthermore, we can expand our competencies and still contribute our strengths at the same time. At the Safety Cluster, we have to take into account many framework conditions in the development, for example resulting from standards, processes and automotive SPICE – we at ASTech already have a lot of know-how in this area. We have steadily improved in recent years and built up many basics. We want to offer high quality software, but also good processes. Even if we look at the competition: We are very well positioned here and at the same time have the opportunity to become even better and to contribute our knowledge to the [Volkswagen, editor’s note] Group.

What work was necessary until the order was commissioned?

In the first step, we basically looked at the sub-functions and upcoming topics and derived the workload and personnel requirements. How many developers and testers do we need for which part of the development? What is the current status and what is the target status? Where do we have to develop as ASTech? What is our most long-term strategy for the Safety Cluster?

What are the first steps that you will take in the concept phase?

Organizationally, we want to work together in an agile way, according to the SAFe method and based on SCRUM. Some of the team have already gained experience, but for others this type of collaboration is still new territory.

The second big topic is to take another look at all the sub-functions of the Safety Cluster and make an analysis: What may already be available from previous projects and what basics or new ideas we would like to introduce for series development. As the name concept phase suggests, we want to take a step back, try out a few new approaches and think “out-of-the-box”.

The third aspect that we have to tackle is to define the technical and organizational framework for series development: processes, methods and tools with which we work. Incidentally, we also want to analyze where and how we can "dock" with our ASTech process model and contribute knowledge.

Really a very cool and exciting topic. Finally: What would you say to interested applicants: Why is it worth being part of the Safety Cluster project?

We have a long-term perspective here and can work on great topics. You can create a lot. ASTech is changing and growing. With the Safety Cluster you can be really creative and not just manage something that already exists. It is a huge opportunity, especially also for people who want to change their careers.

Thank you for the interview!