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Why use a hypervisor for Telematics Control Units?

Why use a hypervisor for Telematics Control Units?

A hypervisor-based Telematics Control Unit (TCU) consolidates multiple telematics applications with different safety and security requirements on a single TCU. The automotive industry is increasingly looking towards the use of virtualization technology. Running a TCU on the COQOS Hypervisor SDK allows multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on a single hardware platform. This means that the TCU can run multiple software applications, each with its own operating system and dedicated resources, without compromising the security and integrity of the overall system. This virtualized system makes carmakers and suppliers, including TCU vendors, benefit from safe and secure convergence.

What is Telematics Control Unit (TCU)?

A Telematics Control Unit (TCU) is an embedded system connecting the vehicle’s external and internal world. Typical applications include services such as eCall crash notification, stolen vehicle tracking and wireless access point as well as vehicle data exchange for diagnostic purposes. In many cases, this necessitates state-of-the-art security. Carmakers also use TCUs for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) or vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), collectively referred to as V2X. Such applications introduce tough requirements in terms of functional safety. TCUs are also expected to play a key role in autonomous driving.

How does the hypervisor work?

The hypervisor allows several system domains to run in different virtual machines (VMs) on a single processor whilst ensuring freedom from interference through rigorous partitioning. Apart from cost savings, this provides a sound basis for safety and security. It also simplifies the reuse of existing software components, saving time, cost, and risk! The different parts of the system can be managed independently, allowing optimizations in terms of system response time and power consumption. The virtualized TCU makes it much easier to bring a new telematics product in a short time to the market. They can immediately focus on the development and integration of actual services.

The benefits

Flexibility and Scalability: The hypervisor-based TCU provides greater flexibility and scalability for vehicle manufacturers. Multiple software applications can be developed and added to the TCU without requiring changes to the underlying hardware. This reduces development costs and time-to-market, while also enabling manufacturers to offer a wider range of features and services to customers.
Enhanced Security and Privacy: The separation of operating systems ensures that data from one application cannot be accessed by another, minimizing the risk of hacking or data breaches. This is particularly important for applications such as remote vehicle diagnostics and over-the-air updates, which require access to sensitive data and control systems.
Improved Performance: By separating operating systems, each application can run independently without affecting the performance of other applications. This ensures that the TCU can deliver high-quality performance across a wide range of features and services.

Features of Hypervisor-Based TCUs

COQOS Hypervisor SDK offers a range of features and capabilities that enable vehicle manufacturers and end-users to get the most out of their telematics systems. Some of the key features of our hypervisor-based TCU include:

  • Multi-OS Support: A hypervisor-based TCU can support multiple operating systems, enabling the TCU to run multiple applications simultaneously.
  • Secure Communications: It provides secure communication between the vehicle and backend servers, ensuring that sensitive data is protected at all times.
  • Over-the-Air Updates: It can receive over-the-air updates, enabling manufacturers to update software applications and add new features without requiring physical access to the vehicle.
  • Remote Vehicle Diagnostics: It enables remote vehicle diagnostics, allowing manufacturers to identify and diagnose issues with vehicles without requiring physical access.
  • Advanced Analytics: It provides advanced analytics capabilities, enabling manufacturers to collect and analyze data from vehicles to improve vehicle performance and deliver a better driving experience.

Proven in mass production

Since 2014, OpenSynergy’s virtualized TCU concept is in mass production. The TCU monitors the working hours of truck drivers, manages and optimizes the deployment plans, and collects data in the vehicle. The architecture of the third generation released in 2017 includes one virtual machine hosting the real-time components to serve as real-time dependent systems of the truck infrastructure. A second virtual machine hosts a Linux-based system enabling the development of open components for either infotainment or telematics purposes. In addition, the system contains a system supervisor in its own VM, which monitors the correct functionality of the other VMs and handles power management. The system is not limited to a certain number of virtual machines, but can also host different real-time or open-source systems. A joined TCU reference platform on NXP i.MX8 realized with Actia and Mobica combines the experience from previous TCU implementations and the latest advancements in OpenSynergy’s hypervisor technology. See more in the video below.

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