New AUTOSAR platform offers more freedom for vehicle electrical architectures

  • 14-May-2016 11:45 EDT
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Set to debut in 2017, AUTOSAR Adaptive makes it easier for a range of different application programming interfaces (API) and modules to communicate randomly.

Connectivity, advanced safety and autonomy are all altering electronic architectures, since they utilize controllers that communicate with each other more randomly than the fairly set links between current-day modules. That’s prompted the Automotive Open System Architecture (AUTOSAR) development partnership to come up with a new standard that adapts to changeable communication patterns.

The AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform, currently set for completion in 2017, is designed to help engineers create more flexible architectures. AUTOSAR Adaptive will provide a software framework for more complex systems and help engineers increase bandwidth by implementing Ethernet.

“With the new Adaptive Platform, AUTOSAR aims to provide an optimal standardized software framework for new applications, especially in the fields of connectivity and highly automated and autonomous driving,” said Stefan Rathgeber, spokesperson for the AUTOSAR development partnership. “Classic and adaptive applications can be seamlessly combined, for example via Ethernet.”

In forthcoming architectures as diverse as infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), more communication will be necessary so modules can interact quickly to provide features and functions that can’t be handled by dedicated modules alone. The rapid increase in electronic controls and communications has fueled growing acceptance of AUTOSAR. The new upgrade augments existing usage of the standard.

New standard likely to debut in ADAS

“It’s important not to think of AUTOSAR Adaptive as a replacement for AUTOSAR,” said Alexander Much, head of software systems engineering for car infrastructure at Elektrobit. “Currently, vehicles have very static vehicle architectures where brake and steering modules send a lot of messages to nodes that 'know' who and where all the units are," he said. "Now, more dynamic things are coming, where nodes don’t need to know where computers they are communicating with are located or when they’re going to transmit.”

The new standard will probably see its first application in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). It can also aid infotainment system development by providing a more seamless integration into a standard operating system with more connectivity and graphics computing power.

“AUTOSAR Adaptive will concentrate a bit more on ADAS needs in the short term,” said Kurt Krueger, North American Product Line Director for Embedded Software at Vector CANtech. “Highly automated driving systems must be dependable and have fail-safe operational capabilities. This can only be accomplished with high-performance micro-controllers, computing power, and high data transfer rates.”

These systems are paving the way for autonomous driving. The driverless car is where the new platform’s strengths will ultimately provide the greatest benefits.

Designed to meet key requirements with regard to autonomous driving, the AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform comes with features such as high data processing capacities, service oriented communication and updates over the air, Rathgeber explained. He added that AUTOSAR strives to be a key enabler on the way to the self-driving car by making the new platform accessible to as many manufacturers, suppliers and developers as possible.

Among the development committee’s goals is to create a dynamic system that includes middleware and supports complex operating systems using a Posix interface and multicore microprocessors. Its main communication approach is based on service-oriented communication and IP/Ethernet. The platform will be capable of supporting adaptive software deployment while interacting with non-AUTOSAR systems.

Development programs ramping up

Most suppliers currently seem to be interested in moving fairly quickly to get the standard completed and implemented. It’s expected to become a piece of the in-vehicle infrastructure used on the road to autonomous vehicles.

“All the OEMs need to go on the road with autonomous vehicles, so they need this quickly,” Much said.

The developers of the new standard note that the initial 1.0.0 release will offer a set of minimum required features. Enriched features based on market requirements and user feedback are expected to be added with comparatively short release cycles, Rathgeber said. Many companies are already ramping up their development programs so implementation in production vehicles may begin fairly soon.

“The first parts of AUTOSAR adaptive may appear on highways as early as 2019/2010,” Krueger said. “Vector expects a more general adoption of AUTOSAR adaptive for production by 2022 and later.”

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