DETROIT – Standards for electronic architectures have been hot topics at Convergence conferences over the years, and 2006 is no exception.

Monday’s Blue Ribbon panel focuses significantly on Autosar (Automotive Open System Architecture), a German-led consortium created in 2003 to establish an open standard that should slash development costs for automotive electrical/electronic architectures.

Panelists Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO of Continental Teves AG & Co. HG, summed up the consensus by saying much has been achieved in recent years. For instance, Neumann says Continental plans to base its future brake programs on the Autosar standard. “But we agree we can’t be satisfied with the progress we’ve made,” he says.

One audience member asked how the global auto industry can keep Autosar from becoming a standard primarily advocated by Germans.

Hans-Georg Frischkorn, General Motors Corp.’s executive director-global electrical systems controls and software, disagrees with the notion North American auto makers are not embracing Autosar. “This is a truly global activity,” he says.

Likewise, Jeffrey Owens, president of Delphi Corp.’s Electronics & Safety unit, admits some Autosar member companies are more active than others. He describes Delphi, a premium member of the consortium, as extremely active.

Owens says the auto industry in Asia/Pacific “is straggling behind” with regard to Autosar, and some suppliers could view Autosar as a threat by allowing companies from the consumer-electronics sector to take business away from established auto suppliers.

Another audience member asked if JASPAR is an example of “divergence” – as opposed to convergence, the conference’s longstanding theme – because it competes directly with Autosar.

The Japan Automotive Software Platform and Architecture consortium was formed by Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (and later joined by Honda Motor Co. Ltd.) to develop an integrated architecture for vehicle networking and software development.

Owens says suppliers are required to follow suit if their Japanese customers award business that mandates JASPAR integration as part of a particular program.

Frischkorn, however, sees no reason to have two separate organizations seeking the same goal.

“It would be better if Autosar and JASPAR were all one team,” he says.