Issue: Jun 2010


Automotive Industries spoke to Peter Ament, CEO, Ontorix GmbH



by Lenny Case

The German company, Ontorix GmbH, offers Media Oriented System Transport or MOST-based IT solutions for the automotive industry. Ontorix is an active member of the MOST Cooperation and offers consultancy services to automotive firms in the area of system and software architecture for telematics systems and MOST devices. In addition, it offers services relating to the software implementation of MOST devices and advice and assistance on these devices. Finally, Ontorix helps auto firms construct and operate test and integration infrastructure for telematics systems. 

Ontorix MOST 150 Suite is a product that can be used for the evaluation of the SMSC’s INIC 150 (OS81110), performance measurements, feasibility studies, validation tests. It can also be used as a platform for demonstrations as well as a test platform for MOST NetServices. Another product is Ontorix Tester, a system for testing both MOST devices, as well as MOST systems. 

Ontorix clients include leading German automotive manufacturers and suppliers. The company is proud of its employees, all of whom are highly experienced in MOST technology.

Automotive Industries spoke to Peter Ament, CEO, Ontorix GmbH.

AI. Which products does Ontorix offer?

Ament. For MOST 150 we offer our Ontorix MOST 150 Suite. This is a platform which can be used for analyzing MOST 150, INIC 150 (OS81110), and MediaLB comprehensively in all aspects. In addition we will offer our Ontorix Tester. This is a real-time capable test system, which can be used for very accurate testing of MOST control units and systems.

AI. Why is the Ontorix MOST 150 Suite suitable for independent evaluation of MOST 150?

Ament. By using an extremely high-performance FPGA and by completely connecting all INIC ports to the FPGA, the INIC can be operated and tested in all pin configurations. The primary design goals of our hardware design were a high degree of flexibility and ultimate performance. Programming of the FPGA’s internal Soft Core Processor is done in C/C++ via a USB connection from the PC. A comfortable API and Eclipse-based development environment facilitates the simple programming. In short, the Ontorix MOST 150 Suite is a machine for answering all questions concerning the MOST 150, INIC 150 and MediaLB, both in 3-pin as well as 6-pin configuration. Using this tool we have already performed comprehensive performance tests and designed demonstrators for various customers. Our customers also value being able to perform their own validation tests, for example in the scope of regression tests for new versions of INIC firmware or new versions of the NetServices.

AI. Tell us about the new real-time capable Ontorix Tester.

Ament. From our many years of experience of testing infotainment systems we have become intensively familiar with both the challenges of testing and the deficiencies of the available tools. From this we derived the requirements for our new tester: Real-time capability, high-precision time stamps for all supported interfaces, observation and stimulation in one tool, easy programming and modular design. All these requirements were implemented in our Ontorix Tester. Along with the interfaces for MOST and CAN, the tester supports the Electrical Control Line (ECL) specified by the MOST Cooperation, analogue voltage inputs for monitoring of the supply voltages for control units, Ethernet, RS232, USB, S/PDIF as well as analogue audio I/O interfaces. The emphasis is clearly on test automation. Programming is done via an Eclipse-based IDE in C/C++ or Python.

AI. What is the main focus of Ontorix?

Ament. Ontorix is an engineering service provider in the automotive industry. The development of future infotainment systems based on the MOST bus system is the main focus of our work. Through our many years of experience we are familiar with the specific challenges during the development of MOST-based infotainment systems more than almost anyone else. Since we see a large future potential in the fibre-optic networking of vehicles, we have specialized on this technology. In our many years of active involvement in the working groups of the MOST Cooperation we have achieved outstanding expertise in all questions concerning the MOST bus, which we offer to our customers. This has also led to the development of our Ontorix MOST 150 Suite and Ontorix Tester products.

AI. Which services does Ontorix offer?

Ament. All of our services are concentrated on the development of infotainment systems in the automotive environment. This starts with consulting services in the area of system and software architecture of telematics systems and MOST control units. Here we co-develop the system architectures and write the requirement documents. This continues with the implementation of the software of MOST devices. Here our consultants have outstanding expertise especially for the connection of devices to the MOST bus through the MOST NetServices. Another area is the testing of MOST control units and systems in the scope of system integration. In this case, our engineers make sure that the individual control units work in combination flawlessly. Topics such as network management, diagnostics, software download and gateway are only some of the tasks that we process. In the future we anticipate an increase in integration of driver assistance systems.

AI. Why do German automobile manufacturers and suppliers use the MOST expertise from Ontorix?

Ament. Because of our many years of experience with MOST, we have built up an immense amount of know-how in this area. Our employees belong to the best MOST experts in the industry. Our customers know that we can help the chronic lack of MOST experts using an intelligent strategy. We attract excellent engineers and train them intensively before they become involved with our customers. In addition, our customers value that we support the entire development process of an infotainment system like almost no other engineering service provider. From the requirement analysis to system architecture, from implementation of the control units to the test and integration, we understand the requirements of the development process in its entire complexity. Longstanding, stable customer relationships have proven to be the best basis for maximum benefit for the customers.

AI. How do you see the future in vehicle networking of infotainment systems?

Ament. The future will clearly be characterized by a continually increasing bandwidth demand, as well as further increasing complexity of the total system. The distribution of video streams will play an important role in this theme. Also there are additional challenges from the integration of driver assistance systems. High-end vehicles of the next generation will surely completely exhaust the bandwidths which are available from MOST 150. The generation of vehicles after that will require an optical network with a bandwidth of 1-2 GBit/s. We also envision other topologies, rather than the ring topology of today, as attractive alternatives for meeting future requirements.


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