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OpenSynergy, NXP, ACTIA and Mobica build hypervisor-based Telematics Control Unit

OpenSynergy, NXP®, ACTIA and Mobica have completed a joint reference project to build a hypervisor-based Telematics Control Unit (TCU). The collaboration demonstrates the consolidation of multiple telematics applications with different safety and security requirements on a single TCU.

A Telematics Control Unit (TCU) is an embedded system connecting a vehicle’s external and internal world. They are expected to play a key role in the future of autonomous driving and have strict requirements in terms of functional safety. Typical applications include services such as eCall crash notification, stolen vehicle tracking and wireless access point as well as vehicle data exchange for diagnostic purposes. In many cases, these applications require state of the art security. Carmakers also use TCUs for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) or vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), collectively referred to as V2X.

The automotive industry is increasingly looking towards the use of hypervisors. The hypervisor allows several system domains to run in different virtual machines (VMs) on a single processor, while ensuring freedom of interference through rigorous partitioning. Apart from cost savings, this provides a sound basis for safety and security. It also simplifies the reuse of existing software components, saving time, cost and mitigating risk. The different components of the system can be managed independently, allowing for optimisation in terms of system response times and power consumption.

The jointly developed reference platform will make it easier to bring new telematics products to market, bringing huge benefits to both carmakers and suppliers and leaving them free to focus on the development and integration of additional services.

Project outline:

OpenSynergy‘s virtualization platform COQOS Hypervisor SDK runs on a telematics reference hardware from ACTIA, a manufacturer of electronics for embedded system management. The hardware is based on thei.MX 8QuadXPlus Applications Processor from NXP Semiconductors. The i.MX 8QuadXPlus SoC is part of NXP’s i.MX 8X applications processor family, ideal for safety-certifiable and efficient performance requirements. The platform hosts multiple virtual machines (VMs) running TCU applications, provided also by ACTIA. Mobica supported the integration work with its specialized know-how. The reference platform proves resilience on key characteristics of a hypervisor-based TCU, such as freedom from interference, safety, performance, stability, power management and early availability.

This reference platform will run on an NXP i.MX 8X applications processor. This processor is based on the Arm Cortex-A53 core, which additionally provides secure domain partitioning. i.MX 8X offers unique hardware partitioning with mechanisms to enforce isolation. This capability significantly simplifies the hypervisor development. Advanced hardware virtualization enables rapid deployment of multiple full-chip, domain-protected operating systems.