Companies build hypervisor-based Telematics Control Unit

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OpenSynergy, NXP, ACTIA and Mobica have announced that they have completed a joint reference project to build a hypervisor-based Telematics Control Unit (TCU).

The collaboration has been able to demonstrate the consolidation of multiple telematics applications with different safety and security requirements on a single TCU, which is an embedded system connecting a vehicle’s external and internal environment.

These units are expected to play a key role in the future of autonomous driving and have strict requirements in terms of functional safety. 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, these applications require state of the art security.

Carmakers also use TCUs for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) or vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), collectively referred to as V2X.

The automotive industry is increasingly looking towards the use of hypervisors, which allow several system domains to run in different virtual machines (VMs) on a single processor, while ensuring freedom of interference through rigorous partitioning. Apart from cost savings, this provides a basis for safety and security. It also simplifies the reuse of existing software components, saving time, cost and mitigating risk. The different components of the system can be managed independently, allowing for optimisation in terms of system response times and power consumption.

The jointly developed reference platform is intended to make it easier to bring new telematics products to market, bringing multiple benefits to both carmakers and suppliers and leaving them free to focus on the development and integration of additional services.

OpenSynergy‘s virtualization platform COQOS Hypervisor SDK runs on a telematics reference hardware from ACTIA, a manufacturer of electronics for embedded system management. The hardware is based on thei.MX 8QuadXPlus Applications Processor from NXP Semiconductors.

The i.MX 8QuadXPlus SoC is part of NXP’s i.MX 8X applications processor family, intended for safety-certifiable and efficient performance requirements. The platform is able to host multiple virtual machines (VMs) running TCU applications, provided also by ACTIA.

This reference platform runs on an NXP i.MX 8X applications processor, which is based on the Arm Cortex-A53 core, which additionally provides secure domain partitioning. i.MX 8X offers hardware partitioning with mechanisms to enforce isolation. This significantly simplifies the hypervisor development, while advanced hardware virtualization enables rapid deployment of multiple full-chip, domain-protected operating systems.