Mentor, a Siemens business, is offering to help car makers and their suppliers develop cockpit systems that integrate instrument clusters and infotainment systems on one electronic control unit (ECU). This should cut the cost and time involved in developing these systems, while still meeting the stringent cybersecurity and functional safety requirements of the automotive industry.
Mentor is packaging a range of software IP, reference designs, and technical help as VCO2S, for Vehicle Cockpit Consolidation Solutions.
Figure 1 Mentor's VCO2S offering helps reduce the bill of materials for car cockpits
VCO2S will help developers integrate instrument cluster and in-vehicle-infotainment (IVI) systems on one ECU, each running on a separate operating system. This will cut costs, and reduce the latencies associated with sharing data between distributed ECUs. The approach supports multiple safety domain levels (ASIL and QM), and includes features such as graphics, video and audio sharing. The solution will also help protect the safety-critical functions that some automotive chips now run in a separate ‘safety island’ from being interfered with by the lower priority work of supporting the instrument cluster and IVI.
“Automotive engineers often deploy instrument cluster and IVI systems on separate ECUs to isolate domains and boost functional safety. Moreover, in traditional supply chains, teams often focus on distinct feature sets with minimal interaction between groups,” said Michael Ziganek, general manager of Mentor’s automotive business unit.
“Today, engineering teams can seamlessly collaborate in real time across the globe. Meanwhile, the rich features and extreme performance of today’s highly integrated systems-on-chip (SoC) multiple safety integrity level domains on the same device. As a result, integrating instrument cluster and IVI systems on the same ECU is not only possible, but in fact, a critical architectural advantage as engineering teams consolidate more systems into fewer onboard ECUs.”
Figure 2 VCO2S will help OEMs coordinate the interactions of three software stacks, in a safety-critical setting
To help designers consolidate their cockpit designs, VCO2S solution is available in three versions:
- VCO2S Base offers features such as software IP and services for a consolidated cockpit design. It includes a reference design that can be ported to the customer’s target hardware.
- VCO2S Flex is a flexible offering that includes IP, systems, software and hardware engineering services, optimized for the customer’s target hardware.
- VCO2S Unique adds technical management, and integration services between SoC vendors and tier-one hardware suppliers, to the VCO2S Flex offering. In this scenario, intended for car makers, Mentor also acts as a tier-one software supplier.
All versions of VCOS2 include safety libraries (ASIL-B), safety features and architectures for shared graphics, as well as video and audio between ASIL and QM domains. They also incorporate CAN and Ethernet connectivity to the vehicle, as well as support for Bluetooth, WiFi, FM/DAB radio, four cameras, and automotive audio. Communication from the less critical QM domain to the more critical ASIL-B domain is handled by the Mentor Communication Framework, whose use will also ease the safety certification processes.
The VCO2S Base offering is available now for proof-of-concept and start-of-production engagements. Mentor is also ready to start working with customers on VCO2S Flex and VCO2S Unique engagements.