The automotive manufacturers now focus on some major capabilities like real-time vehicle-to-vehicle communication, vehicle-to-infrastructure, telematics, and informatics. They enable various services such as vehicle tracking, street updates, smart routing and tracking, automatic toll transactions, parking/parking management, on-board entertainment, and many more. In this blog, we have distilled some emerging trends, technologies, and platforms that help in enabling these solutions.
Traditionally, automotive architecture comprised different functions such as infotainment, telematics, and diagnostics that worked in silos with minimal communication. These functional blocks come together and communicate in real-time with the adoption of advanced technologies like LTE, V2X, enabling use cases that greatly enhance the user experience. The connected car architecture comprises three main components:
- Vehicle gateway for communicating in-vehicle and with the external world.
- Cloud enablement and connection to back-end servers for real-time compute and analytics.
- Intuitive user interface and mobile application to monitor, interact, and control various operations.
The function of a gateway is to provide secure, seamless intra-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure data communication. It acts as a link between the Electronic Control Units (ECU) and the internal, external networks of the vehicle. There are two types of gateway architectures that are deployed based on the requirement.
Service-Oriented Gateways (SoGs)
Service-oriented gateway architecture is based on functional domains, which refer to the integration of the ECUs with similar functions into a functional domain (such as power transmission, chassis, safety, body control, infotainment, and advanced driver assistance systems) that is centralized by the domain controller. The service-oriented gateway acts as a central hub of communication for the functional domain controllers, and it possesses the computing power for data processing. The cloud-enabled gateway also supports safe and efficient data transfer between the vehicle and the main server for Over the Air (OTA) firmware updates to maintain the automotive electronic system.
However, service-oriented gateways must have strong computational and networking capabilities for real-time operations and control. To ensure smooth data transfer between different ECUs based on various protocols, the gateway must support any-to-any network communications at low latency.
The Zonal Gateway is deployed to reduce wiring, weight, and overall cost by ECU consolidation. Zonal gateway architecture is considered for complex automotive systems with multiple sensors that require scalability, modularity, and interchangeability of components.
- Vehicle Server – The Vehicle Server acts as a backbone to optimize data processing, compute, hardware component reduction, and wiring.
- The Zonal Gateway acts as a local hub to connect different ECUs and collect, relay data through a single high-speed Ethernet link to the backbone.
With a surge in competition, automotive OEMs now focus more on greater vehicle functionality and an enhanced user experience. The increased complexity of electronics in cars has led to the growth of ECUs with different network interfaces including CAN (Control Area Network, 1-5 Mbps), LIN (Local Interconnect Network, 20kbps), FlexRay for real-time, safety-critical applications (10 Mbps), and Ethernet for high-speed and wireless interfaces (3G/4G/future 5G, BT, Wi-Fi, V2X, 100 Mbps to gigabit speeds).
Connected cars generate huge data from sensors that is time and safety-critical, and is prone to remote attacks. Lack of proper encryption can compromise the data, resulting in loss of control, accident, and fatalities. You must develop a gateway security mechanism to mitigate the risk of cyber-attacks and data loss. An automotive gateway must provide security mechanisms like message authentication, sender validation, encryption, privacy, and traffic monitoring to prevent external intrusion. A gateway must offer a secured execution environment that is physically isolated and can also maintain data integrity.
To summarize, the following are the key gateway functionalities:
- Support for different protocols like Ethernet, FlexRay, and CAN.
- Data routing.
- Predictive maintenance and remote diagnostics.
- Data security, encryption, and intrusion detection.
- Over-the-Air firmware updates and maintenance.
NXP Semiconductors has a strong portfolio of vehicle network (gateway) processors and In-Vehicle Networking (IVN) solutions that have enabled connectivity solutions for high-tech cars. These robust processors support different high-speed and low-speed communication interfaces for reliable, safe, and secure communication between electronics inside the vehicle.
The goal of these processors is to make the design and development of IVN systems and gateways quick and simple. It has hardware accelerators, communication interfaces, and a security engine to enable robust and powerful designs. NXP offers a wide range of vehicle network processors, modules, and development kits optimized for automotive applications.
NXP has recently launched S32G processors targeted at SoGs for rapidly deploying solutions and features for future cars. Based on Arm® Cortex®-A53 application processors and triple plus dual-core Cortex-M7 real-time microcontroller, the NXP S32G platform offers unified hardware and software optimized for functional domains. The re-usable and scalable software comprises multiple ISO 26262 ASIL D paths, real-time OS, ADAS AI accelerators, and Hardware Security Engine (HSE).
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