Decisions made in the early stages of the product development lifecycle have significant impact on the downstream activities. However, existing tools supporting decision-making and product verification at these stages are very limited. One of the obvious reasons is the lack of a common understanding between the system-level design activity and the design activities within the various participating engineering disciplines. In this paper, we propose a collaboration solution which we have developed and commercialized based on the model-driven development platform that allows numerous engineers from heterogeneous engineering disciplines to collaborate on the development of a complex system, such as an automobile. It helps engineers apprehend the system holistically and collectively thus make better architectural decisions. More specifically, this solution connects discipline-specific designs and simulations with the system-level requirements that trigger them in order to facilitate the integration of development efforts and to enable system-level evaluation of the design concepts early in the product development processes. Our approach provides an effective way to trace and analyze the impact of requirements and design changes, facilitates reuse of simulation artifacts for the optimization of future product designs, and supports decision-making activities at the system level. We illustrate our approach in the context of a automotive use case involving mechanical, requirement and safety engineers respectively using their own authoring environments but collectively in synch on the total system thanks to an SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) based integration between their authoring environments.

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