[ad#post_ad]GM and IBM announced this week that they have partnered to develop the software which GM used to develop and perfect the Chevy Volt. This includes the sophisticated battery simulation software that allowed the car to be developed in only 29 months from the point of greenlight. GM had to project and simulate how the battery would function and operate over a ten year/150,000 mile lifetime in that compressed period, a feat IBMs software helped to achieve. Both IBM supercomputers and software development tools were utilized in the process.

IBM software and supercomputers were also used to design and develop the multitude of electronic controls systems within the the Volt and to determine the optimal way for them to interact, creating an ideal "system of systems" configuration.

"Software and controls are a key differentiator, and have significant value in driving vehicle development and providing unique solutions to our customers, especially in vehicles as advanced as the Chevrolet Volt," said Micky Bly, GM Executive Director of Global Electrical Systems, Hybrids, Electric Vehicles and Batteries. "We must have the ability to deliver innovative electronics and software faster than our competitors and that requires us to develop our vehicles with a set of world-class software processes and tools."

"IBM is focused on providing our clients with higher value capabilities that enables them to transform the way they develop and design not just the products they deliver, but innovate in the markets in which they compete," said Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, Middleware Software, IBM. "The Volt represents the convergence of the manufacturing and digital environments that are at the core of building smarter products."

The Volt contains and relies on 10 million lines of computer code that controls its 100 electronic components. In comparison, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner has just 8 million lines of code. The Volt is 40% electronic, up from the 5% electronic rate of the typical car in the 1980s. Not only that, but Bly states “we can safely say that there’s a 40 percent to 60 percent increase in software code relative to another (conventional) car."

In particular, it was IBM's so-called Rational software that GM used to design and test the Volt. IBM acquired the company Teleologic in 2007 and as a result expanded its Rational Software line into automotive applications. The software enabled engineers to quickly make changes in the system and predict the results on-the-fly as development progressed.

It was GM's goal to design this incredibly complex car so that its orchestra of computerized electronic processes operate seamlessly below the surface to simply create a fun and pleasant user experience.

It is certainly hoped daily Volt drivers never need to learn about all these items, because if they do, it is likely to mean something has gone wrong.

"We haven't done a vehicle this complex in the history of GM," said Bly . "The software--the control side--is what ties together (the mechanical components)...It's really the heart and soul of how the car performs."

IBM software itself is not used inside the production car.

Source ( IBM ) ( CNET ) and ( ZDNet )