Firmware secures data communication in cars

November 22, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Firmware secures data communication in cars
Elektrobit (EB) has introduced an automotive Ethernet switch firmware. A first in the automotive industry, this firmware enables secure, high-performance communication over in-vehicle networks. The firmware is designed to help automotive manufacturers and their suppliers develop advanced, high-bandwidth communication systems needed for next-generation vehicles.

Automakers face the challenge of developing electronic networks for high-bandwidth, high-throughput communications. This is necessitated by the routing of data from sensors, controls and interfaces in electric vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving cars. Since the CAN bus developed in the 1980s, even in its updated form as CAN FD, does not have the necessary performance for this data transmission, automotive Ethernet is increasingly being used. This infrastructure also includes switches that separate the different areas of the in-vehicle network from each other. These switches play a central and increasingly important role in the network control units (ECUs): from today's highly centralised architecture with only a few high-performance computers to tomorrow's more distributed zone architecture.

The EB zoneo SwitchCore firmware adds an intelligence layer to automotive Ethernet switches. This enables them to handle increasingly extensive network functions that are required to improve the scalability and safety of vehicles. EB zoneo SwitchCore provides advanced network management and network security functions such as routing, gateways, firewalls and network intrusion detection and prevention systems. EB zoneo SwitchCore is available for switches from leading vendors, including Marvell and other hardware manufacturers; integrated into switches from Marvell, it is already in use in production electric vehicles.

"Together with Elektrobit, we have added firmware intelligence to our switches. This gives vehicle manufacturers a complete solution that gives them a huge advantage in shortening their time to market," said Will Chu, senior vice president and general manager of the Automotive Business Unit at Marvell. An advantage for automakers, he said, is especially in areas where the cloud, operator and vehicle networks work seamlessly together to enable smart, software-defined cars.

In addition to the new product, Elektrobit also presented EB zoneo VSwitch for virtualising switch functionality in ECUs and thus maximising local high-speed

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