Automotive Digital Cockpits now integrate multiple vehicle functions on the same hardware platform. The overall ECU functional consolidation trend is also evident in reviewing the architecture of other advanced domain controllers such as the newest TCUs and ADAS integrated controllers.
Type-1 hypervisor-based virtualization solutions enable a high performance, safe, and secure environment for any automotive platform. The HARMAN Device Virtualization solution based on its bare metal hypervisor has been addressing these automotive requirements for years. This ASIL certified solution (certified by Kugler Maag in 2018 and TÜV in 2020) is designed to address critical vehicle functions up to ASIL-D use cases and is the Type-1 based virtualization solution with one of the largest installed bases in the market today.
With a view to reduce time to market and mitigate project risks, the trend today for the OEMs is to be able to integrate and validate their automotive platform in a virtual environment where possible. This is then a more convenient and lower cost approach to system development and validation, prior to porting it on the final hardware. This requires a standard, “non hypervisor specific” and system-on-chip (SOC) agnostic ecosystem to access all the devices, whether they are shared or not, between various Guest OSs.
For this reason, HARMAN has been leaning toward providing a set of virtual drivers that fully comply with the VirtIO standard. VirtIO is the industry standard for para-virtualized virtual devices. It enables a total abstraction of the hardware and provides the upper automotive applications with an underlying complete system (covering both the SOC and the hypervisor).
The combined VirtIO drivers of a Type-1 hypervisor provide a high performance (running in supervisor mode), high security (not one single host has all the privileges) environment and guarantee the strong virtual machine (VM) isolation required in most use cases where critical and non-critical applications need to co-exist on the same domain controller.
“We are happy to showcase once again, the HARMAN commitment to open standards and announce that the HARMAN Device Virtualization Solution now supports all upper applications based on VirtIO and especially Android Automotive OS providing an enhanced environment to validate an Automotive IVI,“ said Michal Geva, Vice President and General Manager, HARMAN.
With this new model, OEMs can freely develop car applications on the cloud and deploy them with minimal effort on the final hardware. The HARMAN VirtIO-compatible automotive-grade hypervisor implementation simply makes it run better on the vehicle when it comes to the following three pillars: