QA and Testing in the Automotive Sector driven by Digital Technologies

Companies in the automotive sector are increasingly trying to get close to the end customers by leveraging the digital technology. Irrespective of their location, automotive companies all over the world are trying to adapt their operations using digital means and seeking to reach and engage with the customer on a more personal level. Thanks to an increasing digitalization in this sector, almost 43% of automotive participants in the World Quality Report 2016 said they have engaged a dedicated Chief Digital Officer, which is second to the Government and Public Sector that stands at 51%. With digital manufacturing and autonomous driving playing key roles in this sector, the requirement of quality QA and testing services has emerged as an essential component of delivering quality end products to customers. With systems and equipment becoming smart and connected while robotics, embedded software and digital communication causing an exponential growth in data, there’s a growing emphasis on testing and QA. Even testing smart technology for autonomous cars like guiding vehicles to clear lanes or amidst high traffic or on highways etc would mean new technologies and skills in testing which could pose a challenge.

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Data security and privacy

With connected car features like safety monitoring, vehicle management and driver behavior analysis, it has become important to address consumer concerns about data privacy and security. Hacking is also a big threat for the automotive industry, more so as several connected car features aren’t as well protected as they should have been. This makes the specialist area of cyber security in QA and testing much in demand. Static application security testing, dynamic application security testing, manual code review and penetration testing are some key areas of focus for QA and testing professionals though finding the right tools and skills could pose a problem.

Setting up of centralized and decentralized TCOE

Unlike the HQ-centric model prevalent until a few years ago where a lot of time was needed to get innovations out to global markets and a solitary system was rolled out all over the world, emphasis is on de-centralized systems development with a more market-specific approach where applications and systems are tested in an agile DevOps model to reduce the time to market and meet specific demands of customers in a particular region. No wonder a lot of importance is given by automotive companies on setting up TCOE (Testing Center of Excellence) in a hybrid (offshore/near-shore) model with a collaborative, more deeper engagement between QA and testing teams and the local partners, while a decentralized TCOE is considered important for efficiency and agility.

Outsourcing of QA and testing to offshore partners

With the automotive sector becoming more industrialized, the OEMs and others are responding to cost and quality pressures by outsourcing their QA and testing tasks. Earlier, OEMs used to outsource just their application management but according to the World Quality Report 2016, 44% of automotive participants say they have outsourced a majority of their testing activities to an independent QA partner.

A rise is predicted in the QA and testing spend of automotive companies, mainly driven by the sector’s enthusiasm for automation techniques and emerging technologies. In fact, some of it is already evident as 47% of World Quality Report 2016 respondents belonging to the automotive sector say they use predictive analysis to find or optimize test coverage area in a DevOps setting. Respondents are also upbeat about the use of modern technologies and automation in the coming year with 40% foreseeing use of predictive analysis (for automated detection of risk factors), while 48% and 43% were in favor of cognitive automation and robotics automation respectively in the near future. But despite these promising trends and predictions, the sector will soon settle with its use of modern technique and automation and the need of bringing QA and testing functions closer to the main markets will be felt. Though offshore locations provide benefits in terms of cost and labor arbitrage at present, increasing automation and use of intelligence-led test data and test environment management will tide over these benefits and may soon start a trend of negative off-shoring.

Final words

As digital technologies are driving all areas of the automotive sector – from assembly and supplier plants to original equipment manufacturers (OEMS), QA and testing have become integral to speed up operations and ensure quality to let companies offer a better, more personalized experience to their end customers. For quality QA and testing services in the automotive sector at competitive rates, you just need to connect with gomadeindia.

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