Why virtualization for zonal computers?
Automotive manufacturers and ECU suppliers in the real-time domain are under constant pressure to merge more functions onto hardware. They need to reduce costs (less hardware, cables, weight) while achieving better performance (energy efficiency, safety, security) and integrating more functions ( electrification, connectivity, autonomous driving). This challenge can be overcome by moving from domain controllers to zonal computers. This means that future architectures will not distribute the functions among many ECUs and will not group them by domains on powerful processors; instead, there will be a central computer for each spatial area in the vehicle, which will handle the applications. This means that there are zonal computers in the front, center, and rear of the vehicle, which are connected via a central gateway. The central gateway thus acts as a central block, forwarding data reliably, securely protected against attacks, and at high speed.
COQOS Hypervisor SDK for the Front Zonal Computer
An example of an application with a VIRTIO-based virtual platform like COQOS Hypervisor SDK running on microprocessors that only have a memory protection unit (MPU) is the Zonal Front Computer – located in the front of a vehicle. Within this zone, all the functions of the body, IO aggregation, power distribution, and part of the ADAS sensors can be consolidated there. This consolidation of different applications comes in the background with a strict separation requirement on all the levels across the firmware. This means that e.g., safety, timing, or security cannot be reduced nor the functionality of the particular application. ASIL-D application can’t be compromised by any other software running as QM or ASIL-B. Also, the swap to a new firmware image cannot influence the execution of the functionalities that coexist inside the Microcontroller.
Partners support smooth integration
OpenSynergy has worked closely with STMicroelectronics to ensure that its lean and flexible hypervisor of OpenSynergy’s COQOS Hypervisor SDK automotive virtual platform picks up the hardware virtualization in the ST’s Stellar products and extends it. With this, code from automotive manufacturers can reliably execute multiple functions and various software services on a single piece of hardware, securely separated from other functions.