ANSYS Takes Aim at Embedded Software

As we've discussed before, embedded software has been a big target for CAD and PLM providers the last few years. Increasingly complex products demand solutions that can address both the software and hardware aspects of product design. Now we see signs that the embedded software requirement has hit the radar screens of CAE companies.

ANSYS, a leader in the simulation space, has acquired the French company Esterel Technologies SA in a bid to broaden its capabilities to encompass both hardware and software system development.

The acquisition, valued at $53 million, advances ANSYS' long-term strategy to propel its "Simulation Driven Product Development" capabilities to support system-level simulation, according to company officials. Combining ANSYS' hardware-oriented simulation lineup with Esterel's embedded software simulation tools will give engineers more insight into the behavior of the embedded software as it interacts with the hardware, including electrical, mechanical, and fluidic subsystems.

The acquisition is an acknowledgement of the growing complexity of products -- from airplanes to cars to household appliances -- where embedded software and integrated electronics play an increasingly important role in differentiation.

Jim Cashman, ANSYS president and CEO, said in a press release:

Today's products are getting smarter. They have more electronics and software and this requires a systems engineering approach to product development. The combination of these two great companies will uniquely enable customers to comprehensively simulate complete systems and predict with confidence that their products will thrive in the real world. Further, we believe that the combination will foster innovation by gaining engineering insight across disciplines that have historically been silos.

Citing its other successful CFD analysis acquisitions, ANSYS officials said that the Esterel product suite will eventually be integrated with its core simulation platform. ANSYS plans to maintain Esterel as a wholly owned subsidiary once the deal closes this quarter. It also plans to retain Esterel's 80 employees to maintain domain expertise in embedded software simulation.

Esterel's 200 customers in a wide range of industries, including automotive, aircraft, rail transportation, industrial systems, and nuclear plants, dovetail nicely with ANSYS' own customer base, many of which are already using both systems and will benefit from a more integrated simulation suite, ANSYS officials said.

Esterel's simulation lineup comprises the SCADE system, a systems modeling tool suite that supports industrial systems engineering processes such as use case and functional requirement modeling along with system architecture design and verification; the SCADE Suite integrated design environment for requirement management, model-based design, simulation, verification, and certified code generation; and SCADE Display, a graphics design and code generation tool aimed at safety-critical embedded systems displays. It also includes SCADE LifeCycle, a lifecycle management framework providing capabilities in the area of requirement traceability, automated documentation production, project dashboarding, and test execution.

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