Blown To Bits

How Much of the Cost of a Car is Electronics and Software?

Thursday, February 5th, 2009 by Harry Lewis

A friend passed along this brief article from IEEE Spectrum. Among its interesting claims:

For today’s premium cars, “the cost of software and electronics can reach 35 to 40 percent of the cost of a car,” states [German professor Manfred] Broy, with software development contributing about 13 to 15 percent of that cost. He says that if it costs US $10 a line for developed software—a cost he says is low—for a premium car, its software alone represents about a billion dollars’ worth of investment.

Of all the staff hours in the entire program to build the [GMC Yukon] Two-Mode Hybrid transmission…some 70 percent…were devoted to developing the control software.

IBM claims that approximately 50 percent of car warranty costs are now related to electronics and their embedded software, costing automakers in the United States around $350 and European automakers €250 per vehicle in 2005.

On the other hand, the article claims that it takes 100 million lines of code to drive all the microprocessors in a car — that seems exaggerated, but perhaps true. There are many ways to do the accounting on LOC metrics.

2 Responses to “How Much of the Cost of a Car is Electronics and Software?”

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