SOAFEEs next step: Connecting car and cloud

SOAFEEs next step: Connecting car and cloud

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Word has spread throughout the industry that the future of the car lies in software. And for the software-defined car to become reality, standards are needed at all levels. The software development framework SOAFEE (Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge) was founded for this purpose. These days SOAFEE has celebrated its first birthday. Since its launch in September 2021, the number of members has quadrupled to more than 50, and support for the grouping has grown broader and deeper.

Companies across the entire automotive supply chain contribute to the group, including silicon vendors, software providers, OEMs and tier ones. “The future of the car is software-defined, but with this come new levels of complexity”, said Robert Day, Director Automotive Solutions and Platforms from processor IP provider ARM, one of the most prominent founding members of SOAFEE. While today’s advanced vehicles run some 100 million lines of code of software in their ECUs and domain controllers, this amount will grow further in the future. “Looking ahead, it’s expected that fully autonomous vehicles will have at least half a billion lines of code”, he said. “By 2030, there will be more than 250 thousand automotive software developers.” Traditional design techniques won’t be able to keep up with this rapidly growing demand.

“When we launched SOAFEE, we set out to solve three problems: Enabling software reuse across many silicon solutions, easy cloud to edge software deployment, and a “shift left” allowing developers to start software development earlier and deploy updates after manufacture,” explains Dipti Vachani, Senior Vice President and General Manager at ARM.

In the first year of its existence, the group has defined and documented the first version of the SOAFEE architecture. It seeks to reuse existing open standards for various components, extending those standards as needed to meet the mixed-criticality requirements of automotive applications so that any software-defined function in a vehicle can use the same development methodologies.

In addition, the SOAFEE Special Interest Group (SIG) has successfully released the first open-source reference implementation, enabling developers to get started now by showcasing a containerized delivery of a software-defined workload using the autonomous driving application as an example. The second release of the SOAFEE reference implementation is due by the end of 2022.

For the next future, the interaction between vehicle software and the cloud is at the top of the agenda. The SOAFEE SIG is working with cloud service providers to bring cloud-native methodologies to the automotive world by enabling SOAFEE-based blueprints. These blueprints are specific to applications such as autonomous driving, ADAS, and infotainment and this is done by hosting these workloads in the cloud and bringing them to the edge using a SOAFEE reference implementation or SOAFEE-compliant commercial offering. The SIG will be releasing the first SOAFEE blueprint, showcasing the development of an autonomous driving application using the architecture, later in 2022.

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