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Siemens Doubles Down on Automotive Simulation

Siemens announced plans to buy for an undisclosed sum Tass International (Helmond, The Netherlands), an established simulation software company in the global automotive industry for 25 years.

For skeptics wondering what motivated Siemens to acquire EDA vendor Mentor Graphics (in a deal that closed earlier this year), Siemens’ acquisition of Tass International closes the circle, making clear that “automotive” was a key thread connecting Siemens, Siemens PLM Software and Mentor. The Siemens-Tass deal adds automated driving solutions to Siemens’ portfolio, providing a shot in the arm for Siemens PLM Software, which now owns Mentor.  

Siemens said Tass’ “simulation software and engineering and test services” will strengthen the automotive wing of Siemens’ PLM Software. The plan is to combine Tass’ software with Mentor’s EDA solutions “to frontload the verification and validation of ADAS and autonomous driving systems,” according to Siemens.

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI), told us, “This is pretty important acquisition for Siemens because simulation is such as important element of automated vehicle solutions.” He believes that the Tass portfolio “helps companies at various phases in the development of automated vehicle functions.”

Siemens is convinced that connected and autonomous vehicles will set a high bar for the automotive industry in meeting requirements for virtual and physical validation and verification. “The increased complexity of the involved mechatronic systems, the interaction with the environment, and the increased liability risks due to a shift of responsibility from driver to system require an integrated product development approach,” a Siemens PLM Software spokeswoman told us. For that, Tass’ offerings are critical.

Physics-based simulator
So, what’s Tass’ claim-to-fame in automotive? The Dutch company, on its website, cites its “unique development methodology, offering a set of advanced simulation software tools, tailor-made engineering solutions and state-of-the-art testing and certification facilities and services.”

The Siemens PLM Software spokeswoman added, “Tass also broadens our current engineering and testing services offerings into homologations [the process of certifying a vehicle to indicate that it meets regulatory standards and specifications], cooperative mobility, crash testing, tyre testing, vehicle hardware-in-the-loop and integrated vehicle safety.” VSI’s Magney sees the value of Tass offerings in “a real physics-based simulator.” 

“From early-level algorithm development to functional validation of software components, Tass provides a simulator where the developers can design their own scenarios and model various sensor configurations at an early stage,” Magney noted. VSI, which tracks the building blocks of automated vehicles by putting together its own autonomous cars, uses Tass simulation software. Magney said, “Earlier this year, VSI was able to develop and test its own algorithms in a virtual world before we ported them to our vehicle.”