Markus Fichtner, CEO
The global automotive industry is witnessing renaissance with rapid technology developments transpiring in the areas of infotainment, driver assistance systems (DAS), electrification, and electronics. Tapping this massive potential, Germany-based BFFT, a seasoned automotive engineering company, with over 800 employees, is bringing its expert services to help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)—including Audi, VW, Porsche or Lamborghini among others—and suppliers build futuristic vehicles that redefine in-vehicle experience.
Established in 1998, BFFT’s high-value engineering services cater to the holistic needs of the OEMs in developing cutting edge, secure, and high performance electronics systems. Its services encompass various phases including pre-development, development, as well as testing and validation. The pre-development phase deals with rapid prototyping that includes undertaking technological assessment, Proof of Concepts, prototyping, and function development. During the development phase, the company develops hardware and software while it executes and tests design simulations as per customer requirements.
The testing and validation phase, on the other hand, deals with SiL, MiL, PiL, and HiL verification of the newly developed modules to track down flaws in the functionality of the systems.
Leveraging its vast experience in the German automotive market, the company has developed several universally applicable products and tools across networking and measurement technology, visualization and HMI, power electronics, as well as electronic test systems to support the development process. BFFT is currently working on a universally applicable battery-management system that can be implemented in different areas such as trucks, utility vehicles, and motorsport.
Through BFFT of America, a subsidiary company of BFFT founded in 2013, the company is delving into development and testing of infotainment and DAS in the U.S. Supported by BFFT’s experts in Germany, Belmont, CA-based, BFFT of America has around 30 employees and has ERL (Electronics Research Laboratory) of the Volkswagen Group as one of its first clients.
As an automotive electronics and software testing specialist, BFFT has been a trusted partner for Audi, helping them to build customized solutions for testing and analysis of diagnostic functions of the vehicle control units.
“BFFT has been recognized by Audi as one of its two certified partners in software diagnosis and flash bootloader testing,” informs Markus Fichtner, CEO, BFFT. This testing process is done throughout the entire development cycle–from the first alpha prototypes, up to the series-production of control units.
Several companies have benefited from the overarching capabilities of BFFT. A case in point is when BFFT, in collaboration with DEUTZ (a leading agricultural machinery manufacturer), developed the customized DAS to deal with the limited view of large agricultural machinery for the driver. BFFT installed sensor elements and controllers in a prototype tractor, developing software and integrating the same into the vehicle infrastructure. The result was a set of special control units that furnished visual (driver monitor) and acoustic warning signals, preventing the tractor from starting up or moving further. The integration of the software got the company the recognition as the innovator with a touch of versatility at the Argitechnica 2015—the world's largest exhibition for agricultural machinery and equipment.
According to Fichtner, BFFT’s success lies in its expert and energetic workforce as well as the unique work culture where they host up to 90 events each year in sport, music, gaming, and lifestyle for its employees. This approach has made BFFT surpass the likes of VW, Porsche, Mercedes, Audi, and BMW as the company with the most satisfied employees in German automotive companies, according to a survey, in 2015, by the special interest magazine, Automobilwoche. Enabled with a dynamic and motivated team, BFFT focuses on building on its technological prowess to provide more automotive companies—the digital edge. In the U.S., BFFT looks forward to bring its electrification and digitalization knowhow to build high quality automotive systems.