Developers are speeding up the rollout of support systems to help OEMs and leading Tiers to transition to the software-based car.Significant investments in time, money and personnel are needed by any automotive group wanting to develop proprietary systems needed for software-defined systems for automated driving at all levels.
Automation is being introduced to new models faster and at lower cost by forming partnerships with companies like Austrian headquartered TTTech Group, which has established a new unit to focus on assisting OEMs on the road to automation.
“The Car.OS division with the platform-first approach is a perfect extension of TTTech Auto’s flagship product MotionWise, a series-proven software platform for automated driving,” says Stefan Poledna, CTO of TTTech Auto.
“We are offering the best-in-class car operating system to OEMs and Tier 1s,” adds Georg Kopetz, Chief Executive Officer of TTTech Auto. “The product will help OEMs and Tier 1s to introduce faster and more flexible software functionalities in their vehicle architecture. We also have new market participants in mind, such as cloud providers which are playing an increasingly important role in the field of virtualization of testing,” he told AI.
“With the Car.OS division, we are positioning TTTech Auto as a first-class partner for leading OEMs which want to take a platform-first approach and in the future flexibly access new business models in the area of digital services,” says Matthias Rudolph, Senior Vice President Car.OS at TTTech Auto.
In December 2020 the European Investment Bank (EIB) helped accelerate the development of the MotionWise platform by providing TTTech Auto with €30 million in funding.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Dr Poledna to tell us more about a “platform-centric” approach.
Poledna: The requirements of advanced driver assistance (ADAS) and autonomous driving features as well as the expansion of product lines towards the software-based car make faster release cycles necessary. In several of our production programs we have seen the growing need to implement additional services and functionalities on top of our middleware MotionWise – the safety software platform for automated driving.
With our platform-centric approach, we address this need to easily integrate and reuse new functionalities. “Platform first” means the decoupling of hardware and software that allows device independent software development. Carmakers can evolve software functions independently from the hardware. They can take full advantage of the latest high-performance SoCs (System on a Chip) within an update cycle. Furthermore, the overall system becomes highly scalable and allows OEMs, Tier 1s and start-ups to easily integrate completely new functionalities and algorithms that will define the future car.
AI: Does it improve safety?
Poledna: Our Car.OS will support fast and flexible deployment cycles and functions that are based on a solid safety architecture and are fully tested and proven to be safe before they are in use on the road.
In the future, OEMs will differentiate in terms of the functions they offer to their customers. These functions will tie up vast resources as they have to be deployed in increasingly fast iteration cycles and have to be safe and secure from the beginning.
At the same time, developing a Car.OS system from scratch is a very resource-intense and expensive project. A cornerstone is the needed expertise to launch a system that offers a high quality for example in terms of safety.
With our over 20 years of experience, we help OEMs to providing safe technologies from scratch while focusing on their core expertise. This is, in particular, their understanding of the customer and the development of the functions that matter to them.
AI: Why do you believe your approach is better than traditional closed-loop systems?
Poledna: A major advantage of TTTech Auto’s Car.OS solution will be that we are open to all OEMs and Tier 1s as a neutral software company. Our solution will enable a strong reuse potential and synergies while being ready to incorporate OEM-specific features. The platform will enable testing in the cloud which corresponds 100% to behavior in the vehicle.
Thanks to TTTech Auto’s core competencies, we will be able to ensure completely realistictesting for software-in-the-loop even in hyper real-time. This will be possible for complex multi-SoC and multi SoC ECUs. Combined with simultaneously running software in the cloud, we see several benefits in form of vast efficiency gains and safety advantages of our technology for example for car manufacturers and OEMs.
AI: On your website you talk about the “reuse” of platforms and software. Please give us an example.
Poledna: Currently, we see a clear trend towards the software-defined car. Moreover, the rapidly growing software complexity dramatically widens the gap between the industries’ need and resources to develop complex software. This gap can only be closed with software re-use and horizontal layers such as our MotionWise safety software platform as well as our upcoming Car.OS operating system.
It will allow designers to hardware-independently implement a multitude of functionalities and applications. Upgrades of SoCs happen independently of these applications. Furthermore, our established safety-platform MotionWise delivers safety by design and enables platform and software re-use in multiple vehicle production lines.
The majority of new software functions are safety-related. Software re-use, constant improvement and re-deployment will help to significantly reduce software validation costs – a key cost driver of the software-defined car.
AI: What hardware does it run on?
Poledna: Our upcoming Car.OS system can run on top of Autosar Classic, Adaptive and POSIX type of operating systems and we will continue to work with ecosystems and partnerships.
We are programming service routines that bring a multitude of benefits to the OEM. We are planning to include, among others, automated car diagnosis, safety and security features and enabling a shadow mode.
Thus, also enabling the development in the cloud and the deployment to the car as well as partial over-the-air updates. Connecting to ROS, the robotic development platform for automated driving prototyping, will also be possible. The concrete set of features we will provide is currently being planned in detail alongside the specific needs of the market.
Thanks to our industry network, we can incorporate direct feedback in the specific development.
AI: How is the established safety-platform MotionWise being licensed?
Poledna: With a platform-centric implementation, a major source of unpredictable up-front investments is removed and thus can speed up developments in-house. OEMs can instead harness a smart licensing model to add new features to their platform and pay only for the software they are using, which increases cost predictability. MotionWise offers flexible licensing fees that relate to the number and complexity of ECUs in use as well as the production volume.
AI: Is it future proof?
Poledna: MotionWise is the safety software platform for highly automated driving and allows real-time orchestration of applications. Based on the system requirements given by the preferred level of automated driving, MotionWise is the basis to scale an architecture from basic to high-end functionality while having uniform services available on all hosts. MotionWise also enables swapping the applications without any additional systems integration requirements.
A major advantage for OEMs is that we are vendor-independent – whether we are talking about hardware, applications, or operating systems. We can make a solution work while preventing vendor lock-in and ensuring flexibility built on best-in-class solutions. When tackling automated driving projects, it is important to keep your path open for the future evolution of your solutions.
MotionWise is series-proven and part of co-operations with OEMs such as Volkswagen/Audi in Germany, Hyundai Kia Motors Corporation in Korea and Technomous, a Joint Venture by TTTech Auto and SAIC Motor Corporation in China.