COQOS Hypervisor SDK

What is Hypervisor technology about?
COQOS Hypervisor SDK enables the convergence of several functionalities on a single System-on-Chip (SoC) while providing freedom from interference between systems of different criticality (assigned to different ASIL levels such as QM, A, B,). The core technology of COQOS Hypervisor SDK is the hypervisor. The hypervisor makes it possible to run several guest Operating Systems (including Linux, Android, AUTOSAR or other operating systems) in separated virtual machines. A typical use case is the safe cockpit controller that runs an instrument cluster and an in-vehicle infotainment system simultaneously, on a single processor.

First hypervisor complying to the new version of ISO 26262
OpenSynergy has developed a hypervisor – the COQOS Hypervisor. This typ-1 hypervisor has been designed as a low-complexity embedded hypervisor especially fitting to automotive applications. It allows customers to build highly compartmentalized systems that can be tailored to the specific requirements. It follows the multi-kernel architecture of the ARMv8 architecture and takes advantage of the hardware virtualization of the SOC using this architecture.The safety properties strongly rely on a systems supervisor component. TÜV SÜD has confirmed that the hypervisor complies to ISO 26262:2018 ASIL-B.

The hypervisor runs directly on the SoC application cores (at the highest privilege level) and creates several virtual machines (VMs). Each VM is isolated from the others and this separation (ISO 26262 calls it “freedom from interference”) supports some of the key integration requirements. The hypervisor supports the controlled interaction between the VMs and devices on the SoC and communication between the VMs.

The COQOS Hypervisor targets the specific needs of automotive devices such as a cockpit controller. COQOS Hypervisor is highly configurable so that customers can for example

  • change the number of VMs
  • assign to physical cores and temporal behavior
  • connect via inter-VM communication channels
  • grant access rights of VMs to devices
  • use it as security features of the hardware

It is minimalistic in its design and therefore is small, fast and certifiable.

VIRTIO devices

The latest version of COQOS Hypervisor SDK supports a large bundle of VIRTIO features. VIRTIO was originally developed for enterprise virtualization workloads and cloud computing that make high demands on data processing performance. With the increasing amount of data driven workloads in vehicles, OpenSynergy sees a perfect fit in VIRTIO for the automotive industry. VIRTIO devices enable OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers to create maximum flexibility: guest operating systems can be used and re-used on different SoCs, including SoCs produced by different vendors. Also, software systems can be moved across different hypervisors without further modification. An example is the cockpit controller, in which the virtual platform enables several software systems to share the GPU power and the various displays available on different ECUs in the car. OpenSynergy drives the acceptance of VIRTIO as a standard to be used in the automotive industry.

Shared Display feature
OpenSynergy’s Shared Display Feature gives full flexibility and control how information is rendered on multiple displays in the vehicle.To satisfy the Cockpit Controller requirements, the reference architecture introduces two key technologies:
Shared GPU: It enables several VMs to use the GPU of the SoC concurrently. This sharing mechanism must support the required quality-of-service.
Shared display: It decouples virtual from physical displays. Applications in VMs can be rendered in virtual displays. A central compositor controls how these virtual displays are rendered on the physical displays available to the cockpit controller.
As information flows within one SoC (and not over networks), efficient communication mechanisms, such as “zero-copy” shared memory, can be used.

Developed as an SEooC and ISO 26262 compliant
To address the safety requirements, OpenSynergy has developed the COQOS Hypervisor as a Safety Element out of Context (SEooC) according to ISO 26262. The SEooC approach means that we have assumed certain safety requirements that our product fulfills. These safety requirements have been derived from our reference architecture for the cockpit controller. Based on these assumed safety requirements, we have designed, implemented and tested the COQOS Hypervisor following the practices required by ISO 26262 up to the level ASIL-B.

Providing scalability and flexibility

COQOS Hypervisor SDK can scale across various applications. It can run on compact micro-processors as well as high-performance multi-core processors. It can be used for small, simple systems with just a few virtual machines (VMs).

At the same time, it is also perfect for complex infotainment systems with several guest operating systems, each running in its own virtual machine.

Using hardware more efficiently

The assignment of VMs to cores in a multi-core processor is highly flexible. Several VMs can access one core, or, vice versa, one VM can tap into the computing power of several cores. Due to the minimalistic Type-1 Hypervisor, it takes maximal advantage of hardware virtualization extensions.

Improving safety

Having separate VMs for isolated functions, COQOS Hypervisor SDK provides the benefit that functional disruptions cannot affect systems in other VMs. This architecture simplifies the challenge of high functional safety. The hypervisor is designed from the ground up for supporting applications with high requirements in terms of safety and security.

A configurable system supervisor (watchdog) in a separate VM can monitor the behavior of specific applications and intervene if the system does not respond properly. It has been developed according to Automotive SPICE.

Providing security

Guest operating systems run independently of each other on the software VM in COQOS Hypervisor SDK. In this way, the partitioning functions as a firewall, offering protection from outside attacks.

Integrating AUTOSAR seamlessly

COQOS Hypervisor SDK contains a CAN Gateway which is integrated in a VM, that

• Enables seamless integration of the ECU running COQOS Hypervisor SDK into the in-vehicle network
• Offers the fastest option for installing standard AUTOSAR-compliant automotive services such as diagnostics
• Makes it possible to use AUTOSAR software components that implement real-time applications

Saving time and money

Using open source software makes it possible to reuse software systems from the field of consumer electronics. This reduces R&D costs and shortens the time required for development.

Efficient hypervisor

The COQOS hypervisor

  • has a lean and innovative design providing high performance, safety and security without legacy burdens. It supports full virtualization of the CPU for the guest OS.
  • has been developed according to Automotive SPICE and ISO26262 ASIL-B practices, building upon years of experience in research and automotive mass production
  • has no open source components
  • Supports full automotive use-cases and automotive multi-core SoCs.

Webinar on Virtual I/O Device (VIRTIO)


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Integrated Cockpit Controller on COQOS Hypervisor SDK


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COQOS Hypervisor SDK: Suspend to RAM


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COQOS Hypervisor SDK: Remote GPU


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Hardware Support

Target processor architectures

  • ARMv8-A



  • Texas Instruments Jacinto 7
  • Samsung Exynos Auto V9
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon SA8155P
  • Renesas R-Car H3
  • NXP i.MX 8
  • NXP S32G
  • For target support packages please contact OpenSynergy


COQOS Hypervisor

The hypervisor creates Virtual Machines (VMs):

  • Type-1 hypervisor which runs directly on the host’s hardware to control the hardware and to manage guest operating systems
  • certified to ISO 26262:2018 ASIL-B
  • Supports hardware virtualization
  • Resource visibility is based on static configuration
  • Lean code base limits exposure of attack surface and helps to develop safe and secure systems.


VIRTIO Devices

OpenSynergy supports a wide range of virtualized devices. OpenSynergy is continuously contributing to standardization and open source. Few VIRTIO devices are listed below:

  • VIRTIO-block device for using mass storage
  • VIRTIO-rng for Random Number Generator
  • VIRTIO-gpu enabling graphical output of VMs with different requirements on one or multiple displays (Shared Display) and for paravirtualization of 3D GPU (Shared GPU)
  • VIRTIO-input to share input e.g. for touch
  • VIRTIO-scmi to share platform clocks and regulators for seamless pass-through.


Inter-X Communication Framework (IXCF)
IXCF transfers data between VMs.
It consist of:

  • VIRTIO Network (VIRITO-net) for paravirtual ethernet + Virtual Character Driver (VCHAR)
  • VIRTIO over MMIO.


Modular and managed boot

  • Bootsystem image is split to smaller HV and VM images
  • It allows to change the boot sequence of the different Virtual Machines (VMs)
  • It allows shutdown and restart of a single Virtual Machine.


Power management
COQOS Hypervisor SDK supports the Arm PSCI specification. It supports all mandatory PSCI calls and in addition the PSCI calls used by current Linux (4.20 kernel) and Android (P).


COQOS State Manager

This quality management component

  • has interfaces with the hardware watchdog, which is a key element in the safety concept
  • can be used to implement a system
  • supervisor to monitor that the other VMs are still alive or a system state
  • manager to manage state of the system
  • is highly customizable
  • States, transitions and transition guards can be configured through standard SCXML files.


Android, Linux and RTOS
COQOS Hypervisor SDK supports the following guest operating systems:

  • Latest linux versions (following
    roadmap of chipset vendors)
  • Latest Android versions (following roadmap of chipset vendors)
  • OpenSynergy supports out-of-box usage of FreeRTOS.

However, based on customer needs, any RTOS could be supported. Please contact OpenSynergy for more info.


Adaptive AUTOSAR
In case customers wish to use Adaptive
AUTOSAR, a pre-integrated example use-case is available. Diagnostic Log and Trace (DLT)used with VIRTIO logs two Adaptive Virtual Machines via a sinlge ethernet link.

Development Environment

Host support
COQOS Hypervisor SDK development tools are designed for use on Linux Ubuntu 16.04. Support is also available for other Linux distributions.

Hypervisor Configuration

COQOS configuration tooling generates the hypervisor configuration from a model described in XML.

Build and Integrate

Supports the seamless integration of Yocto based Board Support Packages (BSP).

Test and Debug

Dedicated UART channel to monitor hypervisor
Individual guest VM debugging
Periscope: multiple bidirectional communication channels over a single physical serial link.


COQOS SDK includes a fast-boot loader and a modular-boot mechanism, which allows VMs to load and start sequentially.

Shared Graphics and GPU

Several VMs with graphic-intensive applications fulfilling different requirements on safety and real-time Performance, can share one display surface (Shared Graphics) and use the same Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and display hardware concurrently (Shared GPU).

Shared Hardware

Many important use cases require that a single hardware resource is shared among multiple VMs. OpenSynergy’s approach enables graphical output of VMs that run on top of a hypervisor with different requirements in terms of safety and real time performance on one or multiple displays.

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