Hypervisor separates software worlds in the dashboard: Page 2 of 6

May 01, 2014 //By Torsten Posch, Continental AG
Hypervisor separates software worlds in the dashboard
Hypervisor technology offers a new integration path for the vehicle interior domain. One of the biggest benefits down that alley is a better way to meet the need for a consistent, holistic human machine interface in the car while maintaining safe and secure real-time systems in a heterogeneous software environment.
driving. However, the differentiation between what is relevant for driving and what isn’t has begun to dissolve. With the number of external functions in the vehicle increasing, this type of static architecture with two ECUs is difficult to uphold. It would have to be expanded by another dedicated ECU, e.g., for the Android world. Considering the growing capabilities of multi-core CPUs, higher integration is becoming a more economic option that offers several added benefits. Continental demonstrated the benefits of a highly integrated system interior domain architecture at this year's CES in Las Vegas. It integrates AUTOSAR, GENIVI-compliant Linux and Android OSs in a single hardware.

Safe system architecture

Instead of having several dedicated ECUs the showcased integration solution is based on a multi-core CPU. At the moment up to four cores are being used but in the future even a many-core CPU could be an option. The computing power and infrastructure of the hardware is controlled by the SYSGO PikeOS hypervisor, Fig.2. It divides the CPU into several virtual machines with different OSs. The big benefit of this architecture lies in the fact that it allows to use mature, unmodified guest OSs and automotive-certified OSs and applications on a single hardware without mutual interference. Even if one OS should fail, the other OSs on the other virtual machines will continue to run unaffected.

Fig.2: Domain integration with hypervisor architecture

However, dividing the virtual machines in a trusted and an untrusted zone does not only ensure reliability, it is also a perfect way of handling the dynamics of consumer electronics: Frequent updates and the installation of new Android apps, for instance, are perfectly permissible in the untrusted zone, while they are not in the trusted zone.

Splendid “Isolationism”

As the automotive industry is regulated by stringent safety standards, it is of paramount importance to certify safety relevant OSs and applications and to re-use them. This applies to the hypervisor software as

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