Automotive Testing - Christian Schwarzer 

 November 11, 2023

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"Many safety-critical systems also surprise you with the fact that they are really safety-critical. So something like a windshield wiper is already a high-risk system" - Christian Schwarzer

There is an incredible amount of software in a car and it has to be tested. As this is a highly regulated environment, the work of a tester is defined by compliance with many standards. If you don't follow these, you very quickly find yourself in a space where you are liable if damage - especially personal injury - occurs. And yet there is also room for creative testing and agile methods. Christian tells us about his exciting work, which is very varied.

Christian Schwarzer holds a Master's degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. During his studies, he was involved in numerous international research projects on the electrification of various means of transportation, in roles as software developer, tester and coordinator. Since graduating he has spent around 7 years in quality assurance on various automotive & transportation projects, holding a variety of roles including tester, test analyst, test automation engineer, test manager, requirements engineer and project manager. With over 6 years of experience as a trainer, he shares his knowledge in the Expleo Academy, in courses on ISTQB®, IREB®, Agile methods as well as automotive-specific topics such as Automotive SPICE, Functional Safety according to ISO26262 and AUTOSAR.

Highlights in this episode:

  • This week we are celebrating World Quality Week with a daily podcast episode
  • Christian Schwarzer, an expert in automotive testing, was my guest
  • We talked about the special features of testing in the automotive sector
  • Regulations and standards play a major role in automotive testing
  • Test automation is used extensively to ensure quality in the automotive industry
  • There is a special certification for automotive testers from the German Testing Board
  • Certification as an automotive tester from the GTB


Contact Christian:

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Automotive Testing: A different world of software testing

TLDR: Find out how automotive software testing differs from traditional software projects in my latest post. Christian Schwarzer, an expert in the field of automotive testing, gives insights into the challenges, regulations and the special appeal of this specialized industry.

The unique complexity of automotive testing

Christian began by explaining the unique challenges he and his colleagues face in the automotive sector. In contrast to conventional software projects, testers here not only have to understand and test the software itself, but also the interaction with the hardware. The complexity of a car, with its wealth of software components and the involvement of numerous companies and teams from all over the world, makes automotive testing a particularly challenging task. Norms and standards play a decisive role in making this complexity manageable.

Regulated freedom - creativity despite strict guidelines

Christian's explanation of the role of creativity in the highly regulated environment of automotive testing brought an interesting twist to our conversation. Despite the strict requirements of norms and standards, testers are forced - even required - to perform exploratory and intuitive tests. This requirement may seem contradictory at first, but it shows how important it is to leave room for creativity even in such a framework. It demonstrates the awareness that not all problems can be solved by strictly following the rules.

From unit tests to electromobility: the broad horizon of automotive testing

Our conversation covered a wide range of topics - from the structure of the test process in the V-model to the daily work routine and the importance of agility and DevOps in an area traditionally characterized by lengthy hardware development cycles. Christian's comments on the influence of electromobility on test processes and software development in the automotive sector were particularly interesting, as was his insight into the world of test automation and its critical importance for quality assurance.

The future of automotive testing

During our conversation, it became clear that the field of automotive testing is constantly evolving and adapting to new challenges. From safety-critical system tests to the integration of new technologies such as electromobility, testers need to continuously educate themselves and learn new methods. Certification as an automotive tester can be a valuable resource to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of this sector.