eSync dev kit enables OTA integration for ECUs and smart sensors - Embedded.com

eSync dev kit enables OTA integration for ECUs and smart sensors

A new software development kit (SDK) from Excelfore aims to simplify the development, prototyping and testing of over-the-air (OTA) enabled eSync compliant connected devices in automotive and industrial applications.

Aimed primarily at automakers and suppliers of electronic control units (ECUs) and smart sensors, the new SDK provides customers with an out-of-the-box connectivity solution for their embedded systems to their preferred cloud platform, enabling the launch of OTA and data aggregation programs. The SDK shortens development cycles by enabling a working model of how software is delivered over-the-air, and provides OTA capabilities including custom policies, delta compression and end-to-end security for software delivery and updates.

The SDK comes with two compact Raspberry Pi computing devices, along with all necessary power supplies and cables. One Raspberry Pi serves as the gateway, providing a Wi-Fi wireless connection and hosting the pre-installed eSync client software. The second Raspberry Pi serves as the external edge device to be updated. eSync Agents are pre-installed on both devices, enabling new software to be installed on either or both.

The eSync system has has components in the cloud and in the vehicle (Image: Excelfore)

eSync is a multi-company specification promoted by the eSync Alliance, which defines  a software platform with interoperable server and embedded software to build a secure bi-directional data pipeline between the cloud and electronic end devices in vehicles. The system has components in the cloud and in the vehicle. In the cloud, there are eSync servers for updates, diagnostics, and telematics. In the vehicle, there is one eSync client and multiple eSync agents for updates and diagnostics. Combined, these components provide a secure path for OTA updates down to multiple end devices in vehicle, as well as diagnostics and telematics upstream to the cloud.

Hence eSync can deliver and update software and firmware over-the-air (OTA), while collecting real-time operational data from in-car devices including ECUs, domain master ECUs, network gateways, and smart sensors. With a global network of co-operating suppliers, the eSync data pipeline helps carmakers avoid costly and inconvenient vehicle recalls and enables vehicle software and features to be updated in the field.

As well as simplifying the development and testing of eSync compliant devices, the Excelfore SDK facilitates incorporation of legacy devices into eSync OTA-enabled networks.  It also supports evaluation of eSync in-network and cloud software by IT professionals at OEMs and suppliers.

According to Excelfore, OTA is a challenge in complex environments with many diverse devices on multiple networks and busses, as in automotive. Development, integration and verification requires a lot of experienced engineering resources and is impractical without some level of standardization in architecture and protocols. Hence the eSync SDK provides a quick and simple solution for its customers to utilize Excelfore’s production-deployed solution for managing updates via the eSync OTA platform.

In addition to the basic SDK, two expansion kits can also be provided. The first, a CAN-bus expansion kit, provides cables, connectors, instructions, and a template eSync agent. Users can use this expansion to integrate AUTOSAR ECUs and other CAN-bus devices into their eSync SDK. The second, a vehicle status emulator, provides a load-board with a CAN-bus interface. Users can change the state of variables of vehicle status that affect OTA policies, such as whether a vehicle’s ignition is on, or whether the vehicle owner has given consent for an update to proceed.

The Excelfore eSync SDK is available for delivery to corporate customers at $999 per kit, and $2,500 per month for cloud hosting (or as a package price for one kit and one month of hosting at $2,999). Two expansion kits, for CAN-bus AUTOSAR ECU connectivity and for the vehicle status emulator, are expected to be available in the third quarter of 2020 at $499 each.

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