Investment enables development of multi-core ECU systems

19th October 2016
Alice Matthews

Stuttgart-based Vector Informatik (Vector) has invested in Timing-Architects Embedded Systems (TA). Together they now offer a complete tool chain for developing distributed multi-core real-time systems for Electronic Control Units (ECU) in vehicles. Vector is also enabling global sales of TA products. 

Through this partnership, ECU developers and automotive OEMs will benefit from a universal tool solution. The multi-core capable AUTOSAR basic software MICROSAR and the Vector tools PREEvision, DaVinci Developer and DaVinci Configurator Pro are complemented by the TA Tool Suite from Timing-Architects. By this means, engineers get an innovative and comprehensive solution which lets them cover all phases of software development for real-time multi-core processors. Software integration into the ECU is simplified by architectural design, simulation, optimisation and the evaluation of real-time data.

To intensify the already successful collaboration, Vector Informatik has acquired 49% of Timing-Architects Embedded Systems shares. Vector also supports worldwide sales of the TA Tool Suite and provides local technical expertise as well. This sales partnership, which has already been launched in the USA and Japan, will soon be extended to other countries. TA and Vector will still remain autonomous and independent companies.

Dr. Michael Deubzer, CEO of Timing-Architects, sees many advantages how software and functional developers will benefit from the partnership: “Due to their complexity, it is nearly impossible to develop networked multi-core systems without tool support. The real-time behavior of such systems can be validated by a combination of Vector and TA tools. Now, our partnership with Vector ensures easy and competent access to our tools for customers worldwide.”

Dr. Thomas Beck, CEO of Vector Informatik, added: “Today, our customers are already benefiting from a jointly developed interface for our tools, which can be used to analyse and optimise an AUTOSAR-conformant system configuration. Our two companies can now network this special knowledge even better to optimally tune our products to one another.”

In the framework of the partnership, Vector and TA are already planning additional steps towards realising efficient and productive automotive engineering.

In using the joint solution during development, first the AUTOSAR tools from Vector are used to describe the software components (SWCs) and create a preliminary draft of the ECU configuration. Engineers use PREEvision, DaVinci Developer and DaVinci Configurator Pro for this purpose. Then, the TA tools are used to analyse this configuration and make comparisons to time requirements. The best distribution of the SWCs to the cores and OS partitions is determined by simulation and optimisation, and the configuration is then updated. The interplay of different ECUs is considered by simulating the network communication. Data is exchanged between the tools over an AUTOSAR-conformant file interface.

Due to their higher computing power, multi-core processors offer ideal conditions for innovative software applications in vehicles, such as for ADAS systems. However, when applications are running on multiple cores, runtime losses are incurred due to data communication between the cores. For time-critical applications, the challenge is to find an optimal distribution of the application software. With the joint solution from TA and Vector, the network of multi-core ECUs can now be analysed and optimised consistently, resulting in a reliable and efficient system. Completely in the sense of the vision of AUTOSAR, now developers will have new degrees of freedom in distributing software functions in real-time multi-core processors.

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