The fastest way to networked vehicle solutions

17th June 2019
Anna Flockett

As data plays an increasingly important role in vehicles, wireless networking becomes as important to automobiles as tire pressure. Real-time navigation solutions require an Internet connection to use live traffic information to find the best route to a destination. In an accident, the emergency services (eCall) need important information about the location of the vehicle, its direction of travel and the number of passengers. Similarly, for telematics solutions, it is necessary to exchange data and commands with cloud-based systems.

More and more data-driven services are increasingly being offered as mobile networks evolve. Sophisticated infotainment systems, for example, require high bandwidths to transmit HD video to entertainment systems in the rear. In autonomous driving, data for processing and learning outside the vehicle often needs to be uploaded and a constant stream of navigation data for use in the vehicle to be downloaded. The vehicles themselves become WiFi hotspots that provide their users' devices in addition to other on-board integrated solutions, such as rear-seat entertainment. And with the increasing autonomy of cars, the demand for connectivity will continue to increase. This is to be a whole series of new and innovative,

But it's not just about connectivity. These services and applications also require a powerful operating system-a powerful central processing unit (CPU) that performs the necessary calculations, and performs data routing and robust security measures to keep hackers out of the vehicle. And all this has to be done against the backdrop of a constantly evolving technological and security threat landscape. The amount of manpower and expertise needed to develop, maintain, and update these types of solutions can be a significant burden for large and small OEMs and Tier 1 manufacturers alike

Connected Car Node - on tour
If you've been to one of the u-blox booths in recent months, you may have seen the Secure Connected Car demo, developed in partnership with Renesas and Green Hills Software. The demo consists of a remotely controlled model race car, featuring a u-blox TOBY-L4 cellular modem with LTE connectivity, a NEO-M8 GNSS receiver, and an EMMY-W1Wi-Fi transmitter-receiver module. u-blox also integrated the same system into a real truck, which it presented at several exhibitions in the USA. The u-blox devices are connected to a Renesas R-Car H3 SoC board running the uCPU Linux (Yocto) operating system, which implements the router functionality and additionally implements a range of WirelessCar-based applications and telematics services. The WiFi / Bluetooth module EMMY-W1, set up in AP mode, allows the users and systems of the vehicle to use the Internet connection for tablets, smartphones or other devices.

It is a complete communication box in the vehicle - a so-called TCU (Telematics Control Unit) - which provides connectivity, software stack and security for a wide range of connected vehicle solutions, including conventional telematics services. WirelessCar assumes the role of TSP (Telematics Service Provider). This allows control of turn signals, air conditioners, headlamps and taillights, locking and unlocking doors, checking vehicle position and retrieving vehicle data such as odometer, fuel level or battery level. Also included is a "locate my car" function to recover the vehicle in crowded parking lots. All of these services and features are available to users through a smartphone app.

Flexible. Scalable. For sure
Not all vehicles or not all OEMs have the same requirements. So u-blox designed the solution to run either on a standalone TOBY-L4 module in the smart modem configuration with uCPU Linux built-in or in a host-based configuration, in which case the Linux software stack is already on in the vehicle existing CPU / SoC can be ported. Utilising the uCPU Linux environment across multiple processors and systems can significantly reduce project development time, risks, and costs. This allows Tier 1 manufacturers to focus on providing features and functionality instead of using resources for platform integration.

As u-blox build its solution largely on open source software - a Yocto based Linux distribution, GPSD for GNSS data management and modem manager or oFono for modem management in conjunction with the Network Manager - it can ensure the longevity and reliability of the software stack.

Operating uCPU Linux as a guest operating system using virtualisation, as implemented on the Renesas R-Car H3 SoC in combination with the INTEGRITY Multivisor from Green Hills Software, enables applications to share a single processor without Impact the performance and security of mission-critical tasks and applications. For example, if hackers were to gain access to the infotainment system, encapsulating and isolating each application by virtualization would ensure that other partitions, such as the one hosting the GNSS high-precision navigation engine, are not affected.

The u-blox Connected Car Node provides a future-proof connection from the car to the cloud. Designed to enable a smooth transition from today's 4G LTE mobile networks to tomorrow's 5G technology, it ensures that your solutions are always at the top, always connected, and always secure.

For more information about u-blox Connected Car Node solutions, click here.

Guest blog written by Stefan Gudmundsson, Director Product Strategy, u-blox. 

Courtesy of u-blox.

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