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Elektrobit Unveils an Industry First Software-based Vehicle Architecture Platform for Next-Gen Vehicles

Elektrobit Unveils an Industry First Software-based Vehicle Architecture Platform for Next-Gen Vehicles

Author: Eric Walz   

Automotive electronics and embedded software supplier Elektrobit (EB) announced its new software platform on Wednesday called "EB xelor", which the company says is an industry-first platform designed to streamline the development of next-generation automotive electronics architectures that will be based on high-performance computing (HPC). 

EB xelor includes production-proven software, open-source and third-party software, as well as the tools necessary for supporting HPC environments, such as in self-driving vehicles. The xelor software platform can also support features developed by different automakers, instead of being used to differentiate one vehicle from another.

EB xelor combines the company's own products, third-party software, and open-source components, which offers a complete foundation for developing or updating software on the vehicle. While EB xelor is a new product, the company says it's based on software and technology used in vehicles on the road today. 

"Elektrobit is currently the only company that has all the pieces of the puzzle to make a platform like EB xelor possible," said Ian Riches, vice president, Global Automotive Practice, at the research firm, Strategy Analytics. "OEMs and Tier 1s can certainly try to source these elements on their own, but Elektrobit has already done that work for them, with pre- integrated and production-proven software that is already on the road today. Using such a platform could be a significant boost in terms of overall savings and time to market."

In most vehicles, the control software does not change during a vehicle's lifetime. But that's changing today, with new vehicles on the market that support over-the-air software updates, such as Tesla models and Ford's upcoming Mach-E electric SUV. 

As vehicles become more software-based, EB xelor provides automakers with a secure and upgradable software foundation for adding new features and functionality. It offers automakers the tools to automate new software builds and integrate them more seamlessly into a production vehicle.

This allows automakers to focus less on integrating their products and more time on innovation, EB said. EB xelor can help automakers jumpstart the new vehicle design process and reduce engineering costs by 30% or more.

The EB xelor platform integrates a high-performance functional safety software stack based on Linux and Adaptive AUTOSAR, which is a software standard used in the auto industry. 

The EB xelor platform is optimized for HPC environments using leading system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices, including the NXP S32G and Renesas R-Car H3. Car makers can then add their own vehicle-specific software on top of these stacks.

"The automotive industry is undergoing a major paradigm shift. Every car maker is grappling with how to deal with the increased complexity of vehicle electronics engineering systems. It is requiring them to effectively 'reinvent' their vehicle architectures and become experts at procuring and integrating non-differentiating software, unnecessarily draining resources and pushing budgets to their limits," explained Maria Anhalt, Chief Technology Officer at Elektrobit. We're providing pre integrated, production-proven software that will jump-start the process."

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Elektrobit (EB) has been a global supplier of embedded and connected software products and services to the automotive industry for the past 30 years. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of German automotive component supplier Continental AG. 

EB works with the world's top automakers including BMW, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors, Groupe PSA, Jaguar Land Rover, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, Volkswagen Group, Volvo and others. EB's software is installed in more than 100 million vehicles. 

EB's latest software platform can also support the auto industry's shift of building more intelligent vehicles that are connected and capable of autonomous driving. These highly advanced vehicles will utilize a software-based architecture rather than using individual modules each with its own embedded software to control vehicle systems. 

Future vehicle functions, including perception and motion planning for autonomous driving, will require highly complex and resource demanding software to support it, but also must meet robust security requirements. In addition, this software will need to be upgradable during the vehicle's lifecycle to improve functionality. The EB xelor platform provides this.

Automakers are also working on software-based vehicle architectures. In June, Mercedes Benz announced a partnership with chipmaker NVIDIA to develop a software-based vehicle architecture that is upgradeable for the life of the vehicle. 

The Mercedes Benz vehicle OS will run on NVIDIA's AI-powered DRIVE platform. The advanced software-based vehicle architecture will be introduced beginning with 2024 model year vehicles, eventually rolling out to the entire Mercedes Benz fleet globally. 

EB's software can also be found in the upcoming Volkswagen ID.3, the automaker's first all-electric vehicle. The ID.3 features a next-generation architecture supported by a small number of powerful HPCs.

VW utilizes several software packages from EB, many of which have been upgraded and combined into EB xelor as a fully integrated product.

Elektrobit is also one of the first companies to create solutions for automakers in order to help integrate Amazon's Alexa into their vehicles.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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