Automotive Industry Insights

ReqIF “Requirements Interchange Format”

Description and background
Requirements management has been an integral part of the development process in various industries (especially in the military, aeronautical, and the medical device industries) for years. Other industries have been adopting requirements management more recently. The automotive industry for example introduced requirements management around 1999.

Now with this established discipline in place, manufacturers and suppliers strive for collaborative requirements management that does not stop at company borders.

For technical and organizational reasons, two companies in the manufacturing industry are rarely able to work on the same requirements repository and sometimes do not work with the same requirements authoring tools. A generic, nonproprietary format for requirement information is required to cross the chasm and to satisfy the urgent industry need for exchanging requirement information between different companies without losing the advantage of requirements management at the organizations’ borders.

With the help of a dedicated interchange format for requirements specifications, it is possible to bridge the gap:

  • The collaboration between partner companies is improved by the benefits of applying requirements management methods across company borders
  • The partner companies do not have to use the same requirements authoring tool and suppliers do not need to have multiple requirements authoring tools to fulfill the needs of their customers with regard to compatibility
  • Within a company, requirement information can be exchanged even if various tools are used to author requirements

The Requirements Interchange Format (ReqIF) specification (https://www.omg.org/spec/ReqIF/1.2/PDF) defines such an open, nonproprietary exchange format. Requirement information is exchanged by transferring XML documents that comply to the ReqIF format. The text section above has been taken from section 1.2 of the Requirements Interchange Format (ReqIF) specification.

The current version of the standard is 1.2 from 2016, developed by 14 companies including four OEMs (see https://www.omg.org/spec/ReqIF). In 2011 the ReqIF Implementor Forum (ReqIF IF, https://www.prostep.org/en/projects/reqif-implementor-forum/) was established to ensure the interoperability of ReqIF exchange tools. The ReqIF Implementor Forum is where tool vendors come together to agree on conventions that go beyond the ReqIF standard, conduct interoperability tests, discuss insights gained “in the field,” and prepare ReqIF benchmarks.

Current role and relevance with regards to ADAS/AD
No autonomous driving-testing-specific aspects of the ReqIF specification have been detected so far.

Study group summary of ReqIF
The basis for deriving the test specification are commonly the requirements of the SUT (system under test). Especially in requirements-based testing the test coverage can be well measured by checking if every requirement has assigned tests. Thus, the requirements are an important artifact within the test data management process which has been analyzed by the study group.
A standardized Requirements Interchange Format supports the transfer of the SUT requirements from the development teams to the test teams, who might work in different departments or companies.



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