Embedding hardware and software into nextgen auto designs

May 26, 2014

Bernard Cole-May 26, 2014

One good measure of the importance of embedded hardware and software is in next-gen vehicle electronics is that next week DAC 2014 is devoting at least two dozen technical sessions, panels, tutorials, workshops, design walkthroughs, poster sessions, and SKY talks to automotive design.

In addition, there are a range of automobile-related design issues on topics of interest to every embedded systems developer: security, safety, hardware/software co-design, virtual prototyping, simulatiion and modeling,  in-vehicle networking, and dealing with the security issues related to integrating mobile and the IoT into the "Internet of Cars."

If you are attending the Design Automation Conference (and even if you are not attending), my Editor's Top Picks of must-attend events to give you a sense of the intensity of focus on the topic there are:

Managing Multi-Scale, Multi-Physics Challenges in the New Generation of Automotive Systems. According to Tony Cooprider, chairperson of this Sky Talk, as automobiles become connected mobile information hubs, mechanical components are replaced by software controlled mechatronic systems that enable increased safety, reliability, connectivity, and convenience.

"In these complex systems, each component must not only operate perfectly by themselves but must also function properly in tandem with every other component in the system," he says. "The increasing use of electronics and embedded software additionally demand product development process that takes a system-focused holistic approach." This keynote looks at challenges arising from expanding consumer needs and myriad regulatory requirements, and reviews the opportunities from exploring multiple ‘what-if’ scenarios leading to optimal design.

Dual Keynote: Delivering Smart Automobiles Through Electronics and Software 
Jim Tung of MathWorks and Jim Buczkowski of Ford Motor Company will explore the key trends shaping the future of automobiles. They will examine what it will take to design the electronics that will power the automation from complementary viewpoints – the vision and needs of an automobile manufacturer; and the future of electronic design automation tools and technologies that will enable these innovations.

"Will the future generations of automobiles be completely autonomous? Possibly. Will they be substantially more automated? Absolutely," asks Tung. "This immense increase in automobile automation will span many dimensions – including safety, connectivity, and infotainment. Many technologies will need to come together across the automotive supply chain for this vision to become a reality."

Design for Automotive Safety and Reliability
In this special session, chaired by Albrecht Mayer of Infineon Technologies AG, the focus will be on the inherent safety in the design of automotive embedded systems, an active area of intense focus both in industry and academia. The recent introduction of ISO26262 Functional Safety standard as well as the rapid deployment of driver assistance and advanced safety systems has further highlighted the need for work in this area.

This session presents three different views on how to address the challenges, including Marc Serughetti, Synopsys, who will discuss the topic in the context of virtual development tools; Jan-Hendrik Oetjens, from Robert Bosch GmbH, who will talk on Safety Evaluation of Automotive Electronics, and Graham Hellestrand, Embedded Systems Technology, who will discuss the design of mobile systems safe for use in autos.

Included in this week's Tech Focus newsletter are several recent articles and technical papers on many of the topics that will be discussed in depth at DAC 2014, including "Dealing with automotive software complexity using virtual prototyping," a three part series by Victor Reyes of Synopsys. In addition, several other papers and articles on Embedded.com that I recommend include:

A risk-based approach to determining Automotive Safety Integrity Levels
Timing challenges in automotive software architectures
VM-based real-time services for automotive control applications
How to engineer tool-chains for automotive electrical/electronic architectures

If you are attending DAC 2014, or have expertise and/or interest in the topics discussed there, I would like to hear from you in the form of comments here, or later as blogs or more full-blown and detailed design article submissions. Or give me a phone call (which I think is still the best "social networking" tool around). I look forward to your comments and future contributions.

Embedded.com Site Editor Bernard Cole is also editor of the twice-a-week Embedded.com newsletters as well as a partner in the TechRite Associates editorial services consultancy. He welcomes your feedback. Send an email to bccole@acm.org, or call 928-525-9087.

See more articles and column like this one on Embedded.com. Sign up for subscriptions and newsletters. Copyright © 2014 UBM--All rights reserved.

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