Software-defined tech promises remedy for chip shortage

Software-defined tech promises remedy for chip shortage

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Finnish software developer Basemark has demonstrated a key capability of its Rocksolid Core software platform for software-defined vehicles to address the shortages of semiconductor devices in automotive designs.

Applications built with Rocksolid Core can run on multiple different underlying hardware, enabling automotive OEMs to hedge the risk of semiconductor availability during mass production.

Today’s cars can include over 85 different processors and software modules from over 50 different suppliers and car makers are looking for ways to minimize this complexity by reducing the number of needed processors. During the chip shortages car makers have been dropping features such as start/stop, wireless charging, heated seats, touchscreens, and satellite navigation systems in order to get vehicles off the production line.

Many car applications are developed specifically to only run on one particular hardware platform, making it difficult to migrate the applications to different hardware should there be issues in the supply chain, or a desire to use more efficient newer chips.

Applications developed on Rocksolid Core can be deployed to various target hardware more easily. This “code once, deploy to multiple platforms” approach makes it easier for OEMs to use alternative chips or use fewer chips overall by utilizing software to a greater extent across their entire portfolio of cars. 

The Rocksolid Core architecture also requires fewer processors compared to conventional models, resulting in savings in both electronics and software. For example, with Rocksolid Core, ADAS functions, the digital instrument cluster, and heads-up display can be run with just one processor. 

“A large OEM can have a software team of several thousands of engineers developing car applications like ADAS functions, instrument cluster, heads up displays, and more. What’s crazy is that oftentimes these teams are using one chip-specific development tool and their code only runs on that particular chip. Now, what happens if there’s a chip supply shortage, or a new chip comes along two years into the development that’s twice the performance and half the price? The OEM can’t migrate all that developed code to the new chip and is therefore vulnerable to bring out non-competitive solutions to the market, ” said Tero Sarkkinen, CEO and founder of Basemark.

“We’re developing a base software layer and hardware agnostic libraries that enable OEMs to develop code that runs well on many different processors. This layer doesn’t differentiate a car from another. It’s the actual car applications that do differentiate. No OEM should have to spend time on developing non-differentiating software. Rocksolid Core is designed to do that job while increasing road safety, automated and smart mobility, and improving sustainability by reducing transport emissions.”

The company has demonstrated an ADAS reference implementations for lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control as well as an augmented reality (AR) head up display (HUD) reference implementation with partner Dispelix and an integrated body electronics reference implementation with Tactotek.

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