"Head unit will offer opportunity to work while travelling": Page 2 of 2

November 27, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
"Head unit will offer opportunity to work while travelling"
The globally active software service provider Mobica has opened a German branch in order to intensify its business relations with the German industry. The new office in Munich will complement the company's existing offices in Great Britain, the USA and Poland. In an interview with eeNews Europe, Mobica COO Stefan Marxreiter explains the chances and challenges the industry is facing.

For Mobica, Germany’s automotive industry is a large and thus rewarding target with important players. Marxreiter’s potential customers also include the broad Tier One landscape.

The company has deep expertise in Linux, QNX, Android and related software. Such software runs mainly in the head unit of the vehicles. The question therefore arises as to how the head unit will develop in the future under technological and functional aspects. "If one looks two or three product generations down the road, the functionality of the Head Unit will be diversified - it will serve the entertainment of drivers and passengers as well as offer work opportunities," says Marxreiter. Not only passengers increasingly want to use travel time for productive tasks, but also, to the extent that driving is automated, the driver himself. "It is important that the Head Unit offers the customer the possibility to integrate his own device - smartphone, tablet or laptop” believes the Mobica manager. Data protection and pricacy? It doesn't have to be a problem, because the data remains entirely on the user's device. "I don't see that in the shared robotic cars of the future, any customer-bound data will still be stored in the car," says Marxreiter.

One of the reasons why OEMs are turning to service providers to help them develop software is the increasing complexity: today, the software installed in cars contains up to 150 million lines of code. The main challenges for developers of automotive electronics thus are the increasing software complexity as well as the very high data volume of environmental sensors such as cameras, radar and lidar scanners. On the hardware side, this is increasingly leading to the use of FPGAs and custom-made SoCs. The much-discussed architectural trend towards replacing decentralized ECUs with domain controllers will lead to the use of hypervisors.

Are the increasing complexity and the exploding development leading to the use of reusable hardware and software components, as has long been demanded by thought leaders? "Yes," says Marxreiter, "you can see that everywhere. The rising costs of software development are forcing the deployment of reusable software and modular systems such as those used by Volkswagen - the MEB modular development platform for electric vehicles at the hardware level and VW.OS in the software space. In other respects, Marxreiter notes, the use of reusable software not only helps to reduce costs, it also helps to get by with less LoC.

The trend towards the use of standardized software components is already bridging brand boundaries. This can be seen, for example, in the use of Autosar or Autosar Adaptive. The latter even has a Posix interface for being hosted on top of Linux. “And Linux and Android with their various derivatives such as Automotive-Grade Linux (AGL) or Android Automotive will increasingly being seen in vehicle software”, Marxreiter predicts.

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