About Telematics Control Units
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.
Why using a virtualized TCU?
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 hypervisors, as carmakers and suppliers, including TCU vendors, benefit from this virtualized system. 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 reuse of existing software components, saving time, cost and risk! The different parts of the system can be managed independently, allowing optimisations in terms of system response time and power consumption. The virtualized TCU makes it much easier to bring a new telematics product in short time to the market. They can immediately focus on development and integration of actual services.
Already 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 on the video below.