Harman releases mixed criticality auto infotainment platform

January 08, 2014

Bernard Cole-January 08, 2014

At CES 2014 this week, the Harman audio and infotainment group released its next generation HTML-5 application environment for automotive infotainment applications.

A key feature of the new platform is incorporation of Type 1 hypervisor that allows use of separate computing domains in mixed criticality applications in which it is necessary to partition software according to the degree of safety and security they need.

According to Sachin Lawande, president, HARMAN Infotainment Division, the new platform is designed to allow designers a way to develop their applications more rapidly while protecting the integrity of the system against cyber security threats.

The system uses separate computing domains using type 1 hypervisor for securing critical vehicle functions from errant or malicious software for “automotive grade” robustness which he claims is the first of its kind in the industry.

To further improve safety, said Lawande, the new platform also integrates advanced driver assist functions such as Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and other safety features into the infotainment system.

As cars become more connected, he said, car hacking is becoming a serious threat that is forcing the industry to consider how to protect vehicles against cyber-attacks. The next-generation HARMAN infotainment system resolves this challenge by using type 1 hypervisor on multi-core processors to implement two separate system domains that are isolated from each other.

“One domain manages critical car functions such as vehicle network communication,” he said, “and the second domain handles infotainment applications such as navigation and Internet access.

“The infotainment domain is securely firewalled from the vehicle domain, preventing any impact on safety-relevant features in the car.”

In addition, the company has implemented advanced security techniques such as secure boot and data encryption.

Also, with an automotive-grade Linux as the underlying OS and HTML5 as the application environment, he said, developers will be able to create applications for the infotainment system using commonly understood technologies such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

“With smartphones and tablets, people are now accustomed to customizing their mobile computing experience through downloadable apps<” said Lawande. “In-vehicle infotainment has traditionally not offered this capability – even though cars are increasingly connected.”

To provide users with a wide range of choices of applications, HARMAN will offer an app store on the HARMAN Cloud Services Platform , as well as work with OEMs to provide OEM-hosted solutions.

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