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Volkswagen supports Arm-based software-defined car standard

Car manufacturer's software business supports industry initiative to develop a standard platform and open-source reference implementation

Volkswagen's automotive software business, Cariad, is working on an initiative from chipmaker Arm to drive forward the development of the software-defined car.

Along with Volkswagen, tyre manufacturer Continental, several software companies and public cloud provider AWS are planning to support the Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge open standard for software-defined car implementations.

The aim is to develop an open-source implementation of the architecture to enable broad prototyping, workload exploration and early development. Arm said it would also be working with leading commercial solutions providers to maximise compatibility with the new standard and provide a faster route to functionally safe designs.

Riclef Schmidt-Clausen, senior vice-president, head of intelligent cockpit and body at Cariad, a Volkswagen Group company, said: “The software-defined car is coming much sooner than anticipated and the infrastructure needed for this is being developed right now. However, the industry faces some macro challenges.

“These include enabling software portability across a wide range of hardware platforms and building the cloud-native software infrastructure to ensure seamless deployment of applications developed in the cloud to a heterogeneous edge platform.

“As the pioneers of this new evolution, Cariad and Arm are working closely together to solve key technical challenges and lay a strong foundation for the software-defined future.”

According to Arm, the standard and new development platform will have applicability in other fields, including robotics in application areas such as medicine, manufacturing and logistics. For automotive, software-defined functionality will deliver safe, new in-vehicle experiences and features that meet consumer demands and expectations, and crucially will unlock new revenue streams and customer engagement opportunities for automakers, tier ones, software vendors and cloud service providers, said Arm.

Read more about software in cars

In partnership with ADLink, Arm has introduced the Arm Neoverse-based Ampere Altra cores, which it said would allow workload exploration and development on Arm-based silicon using the Soafee reference software stack for applications such as cockpit, advanced driver-assistance systems, powertrain and autonomous driving.

The development platform comprises a developer workstation and a rugged in-vehicle product. In-vehicle prototyping and testing is also available via an 80-core system, which Arm said offers increased CPU performance, extra input/output capabilities and includes a safety processor to enable in-vehicle execution using real sensors.

“The automotive sector is at a critical inflection point and the supply chain – from IP design to carmakers – is being re-examined and redefined,” said Chet Babla, vice-president of automotive, automotive and IoT [internet of things] line of business at Arm. “The industry has asked Arm and its ecosystem to accelerate the vision for a software-defined future.

“By virtue of Arm’s unique position in the supply chain, we are leading a collaborative effort that is delivering the standards, software, developer resources and specialised processing platforms designed for the safety and real-time needs of automotive applications.”

Other companies supporting the initiative include Apex.AI, Green Hills Software, Linaro, Marvell, MIH Consortium, Red Hat, SUSE, Woven Planet and Zing Robotics.

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