3.  The ASPICE-Processes (VDA Scope)

3.9 SYS.4 – System Integration and Integration Test

What is the purpose?

The individual elements of the system architecture are integrated and then tested to prove that they work together as planned and interact as described in the system architecture specification.

What is the benefit?

The system is gradually integrated and tested to find errors in the interactions between the elements of the system before System Testing (SYS.5) begins. All interfaces and dynamic behaviors are tested.

What is the content?

  • An integration strategy and integration test strategy are defined, along with a regression testing strategy. The strategy aligns with the system architecture and product release plan. (BP1, BP2)
  • Test specifications for integration are created and their traceability and consistency to the system architecture is established. (BP3, BP7, BP8)
  • The system elements are integrated in accordance with the strategy (BP4), system integration tests and regression tests are performed (BP5, BP6), and the results are summarized and reported.(BP9)
Example of testable interfaces
Example of testable interfaces

Experiences, problems and hints

  • System integration means the integration of the system components into a complete system, not the integration into the vehicle. The system integration sequence is often unstructured with no defined approach or order.
  • There is often confusion about what system integration testing actually is. Each relevant interface (internal and external) and dynamic behavior must be tested, for example hardware-software integration, memory test, test interface components with the software, internal and external communication, testing the flashing under various conditions.
  • The dynamic behavior of the system is often not considered in integration testing. Especially in safety-related systems reaction times need to be tested.
  • The system integration test is sometimes performed in joint test runs with the system test. This is no problem as long as testing of all relevant interfaces and dynamic behaviors can be demonstrated.
  • System integration often involves the electrical design lead, when they receive new board samples and must prove that the board works correctly with the software. This is a good place from which to start to build a system integration and test strategy and procedure.
  • System integration testing must ensure that the following elements of the system architecture are tested with enough coverage: the hardware software interfaces, and the dynamic behavior. Also resource consumption must be measured against objectives defined in SYS.3.
  • When evaluating system level dynamic behavior, it is important to consider how the system reacts to the major vehicle modes such as ignition on/off, delayed off, crank etc.

Automotive SPICE text of System Integration and Integration Test
(SYS.4)

The purpose of the System Integration and Integration Test Process is to integrate the system items to produce an integrated system consistent with the system architectural design and to ensure that the system items are tested to provide evidence for compliance of the integrated system items with the system architectural design, including the interfaces between system items.

BP1: Develop system integration strategy. Develop a strategy for integrating the system items consistent with the project plan and the release plan. Identify system items based on the system architectural design and define a sequence for integrating them.

BP2: Develop system integration test strategy including regression test strategy. Develop a strategy for testing the integrated system items following the integration strategy. This includes a regression test strategy for re-testing integrated system items if a system item is changed.

BP3: Develop specification for system integration test. Develop the test specification for system integration test including the test cases for each integration step of a system item according to the system integration test strategy. The test specification shall be suitable to provide evidence for compliance of the integrated system items with the system architectural design.

NOTE 1: The interface descriptions between system elements are an input for the system integration test cases.

 NOTE 2: Compliance to the architectural design means that the specified integration tests are suitable to prove that the interfaces between the system items fulfill the specification given by the system architectural design.

 NOTE 3: The system integration test cases may focus on the correct signal flow between system items the timeliness and timing dependencies of signal flow between system items the correct interpretation of signals by all system items using an interface the dynamic interaction between system items

 NOTE 4: The system integration test may be supported using simulation of the environment (e.g. Hardware-in-the-Loop simulation, vehicle network simulations, digital mock-up).

BP4: Integrate system items. Integrate the system items to an integrated system according to the system integration strategy.

NOTE 5: The system integration can be performed step wise integrating system items (e.g. the hardware elements as prototype hardware, peripherals (sensors and actuators), the mechanics and integrated software) to produce a system consistent with the system architectural design.

 BP5: Select test cases. Select test cases from the system integration test specification. The selection of test cases shall have sufficient coverage according to the system integration test strategy and the release plan.

BP6: Perform system integration test. Perform the system integration test using the selected test cases. Record the integration test results and logs.

NOTE 6: See SUP.9 for handling of non-conformances.

BP7: Establish bidirectional traceability. Establish bidirectional traceability between elements of the system architectural design and test cases included in the system integration test specification. Establish bidirectional traceability between test cases included in the system integration test specification and system integration test results.

NOTE 7: Bidirectional traceability supports coverage, consistency and impact analysis.

 BP8: Ensure consistency. Ensure consistency between elements of the system architectural design and test cases included in the system integration test specification.

NOTE 8: Consistency is supported by bidirectional traceability and can be demonstrated by review records.

 BP9: Summarize and communicate results. Summarize the system integration test results and communicate them to all affected parties.

NOTE 9: Providing all necessary information from the test case execution in a summary enables other parties to judge the consequences.

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