Autos, Automation and the Road to Autonomy

By Arti Loftus November 07, 2018

When will fully autonomous cars go mainstream?

Recognizing that trust in the safety of connected vehicles is paramount to adoption, by consumers and the public agencies protecting them, Wind River and TTTech believe the answer may be in real time operating systems (RTOS).

According to ABI Research, approximately 8 million vehicles will be shipped in 2025 with self-driving capabilities of level 3 or higher.

Level 0 autonomous driving has no self-driving capabilities.

Level 1 autonomous driving includes driver-assistance programs.

Level 2 autonomous driving includes vehicles capable of controlling speed and steering under certain circumstances.

Level 3 vehicles monitor the road and navigate while simultaneously controlling car speed and steering.

Level 4 vehicles are more truly autonomous allow drivers to relax, at least on main highways where geofencing is possible and the drives are more predictable.

Level 5 can operate in any and every circumstance, with no human attention or intervention required.

And while 8 million vehicles may sound small (less than 10% of total vehicles forecast to ship in 2025), and while Level 3 isn’t Level 5, there is no question cars of the future will be smarter and more connected than we could have imagined a few years ago.

Wind River is providing its VxWorks real-time operating system to power the latest versions of MotionWise, which is TTTech Auto’s safety-software platform for autonomous driving applications.

The companies have been working together for some time developing scalable Electronic Control Units (ECUs) based on networked multi-core system-on-chips (SoCs) for safety-critical automotive applications.

As an underlying software platform for the Audi zFAS architecture, for example, VxWorks maintains and monitors the safety of critical applications.

The zFAS platform enables automated driving assistance features such as lane assist, adaptive cruise control, and intersection assist in vehicles including the 2018 Audi A8, one of the auto industry’s most advanced connected vehicles on the market.

“In the imminently approaching autonomous future, automakers must keep up with a rapid pace of innovation. However, the stakes are incredibly high," said Marques McCammon, vice president of Automotive at Wind River. “By working with leaders like TTTech, Wind River is helping carmakers accelerate their development cycles to deliver innovative products while also maintaining the highest levels of safety. When passenger safety is on the line, it will be essential to turn to leaders with proven technologies and expertise in mission-critical applications.”

VxWorks is designed to host several safety-related software components side by side with non–safety-related components in the overall automotive system architecture. TTTech Auto’s platform was designed for ADAS functions, including autonomous driving and other automotive video camera–based vision applications. The platform can be connected to multiple cameras, and it features deterministic Ethernet networking capabilities.

“With the rise of connectivity and autonomous driving, the automotive environment is becoming more complex and creates new challenges,” said Georg Niedrist, senior vice president of Safety Products and Integration at TTTech Auto. “Together with a software expert like Wind River, TTTech can deliver advanced automotive platforms to help OEMs meet their demanding requirements, schedules, and, ultimately, their objectives."

VxWorks is tuned for both determinism and responsiveness. Its technology includes a modular, future-proof architecture that separates the OS kernel from applications and other packages, allowing for fixes and feature updates with minimal rework, testing, or recertification. The enhanced multicore safety scheduler enables time, resource, and space partitioning for different criticality applications to run side by side and still meet safety standards. VxWorks is a trusted platform with a proven track record in safety- and security-certified environments, making it ideal for current and future applications for connected and autonomous vehicles.

In addition to VxWorks software, Wind River provided TTTech Auto with board support packages, middleware development, and network stack integration. The work also included preparation of artifacts and work products for the sensor system host in accordance with functional safety standard ISO 26262, Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL).

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Special Correspondent

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