Plug-on devices (POD) are hardware adapters, which provide direct read-write access for external tools to the ECU‘s internal resources such as memory or registers. External tools are typically measurement & calibration systems, data loggers or rapid control prototyping systems. PODs require a driver in the ECU software, called the POD Service Software (PSS), which handles the communication between the ECU software and the external tool(s). ASAM MCD-1 POD standardizes major parts of the PSS, significantly easing the job of ECU basic software developers and integrators. This has the advantage that PODs and external tools can be exchanged without major changes to the internal ECU software, or with no changes to the ECU software at all in the most ideal case (‚plug-and-play‘). Consequently, it becomes much easier to switch between ASAM MCD-1 POD compliant tools for ECU development and testing activities, and to ultimately achieve the freedom to select the most appropriate tool for a given task.

The standard supports and unifies the technical processes of POD configuration, detection and initialization. For example, it is possible that an external tool from one vendor can download configurations from a POD from a different vendor. Furthermore, the features of calibration and synchronous measurement including cold-start measurement are supported. More features might be added in future versions of the standard.

The standard specifies an API between the PSS and the ECU software. Some API functions are specified as vendor-independent functions and can be used by all standard-compliant PODs. For performance and other reasons, ASAM furthermore specifies vendor-specific functions, which can be integrated and called individually for each POD in the ECU software. The standard is shipped with a reference implementation for the vendor-independent PSS functions.

The standard also extends the XCP protocol with POD-specific commands and events for the configuration of the POD. AML- and A2L-files are provided for defining and demonstrating how to correctly describe the POD-interface for ASAM MCD-2 MC compliant measurement & calibration tools.

With the help of the API-, XCP- and A2L-specifications in ASAM MCD-1 POD, the standard  allows to set up an ECU development tool chain, where ECU, POD and attached tools can be combined from multiple vendors and operated without major integration efforts.


Standard Authors

Accurate Technologies Inc., AVL LIST GmbH, Continental Automotive GmbH, DIAWA Software Concepts & Engineering, dSPACE GmbH, ETAS GmbH, Intrepid Control Systems GmbH, M&K GmbH, RA Consulting GmbH, Robert Bosch GmbH, Vector Informatik GmbH, Volkswagen AG.


Current Activities on ASAM MCD-1 POD

Currently there are no standardization activities.

Plug-on Device Interface
Current Version
Release Date
18 May 2017
Application Areas
  • Calibration of ECU parameters
  • Measurement of ECU variables
  • Stimulation of ECU variables
  • ECU programming
Specification Content
  • API specification
  • Protocol specification
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