Virtual platform supports hardware virtualisation of STMicro’s Stellar MCUs

Virtual platform supports hardware virtualisation of STMicro’s Stellar MCUs

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

OpenSynergy has ported its Coqos hypervisor SDK to STMicroelectronics’ Stellar MCU family. This virtualisation technology allows car manufacturers to run multiple functions and different software services simultaneously on a single piece of hardware, safely separated from other functions.

This approach forms the technical basis for the coming generations of domain and zone architectures.

Function separation through hardware virtualisation alone is not enough to fully exploit the power of the new class of automotive MCUs, according to OpenSynergy. Additional virtualisation technology, such as the Coqos Hypervisor SDK, also enables the integration of numerous applications and allows multiple operating systems on which the various functions reside to run side by side in parallel. In addition to the hypervisor, the virtual devices that OpenSynergy offers on its Coqos Hypervisor SDK enable the systems to communicate without additional hardware. Thus, physical CAN buses are replaced by VIRTIO-CAN (a CAN implementation in shared memory instead of wires). Exchange between virtual machines is also possible via VIRTIO-vsock or VIRTIO-net, depending on the application. For the development of these virtual devices, OpenSynergy has been an active member of the OASIS Open Consortium since 2018 and specifies the most important devices according to the open VIRTIO standard.

The Coqos hypervisor in combination with STMicroelectronics’ Stellar virtualisation technology completely separates all software components from the hardware and enables both the operating systems and the applications running on them not to influence each other. In addition, they can be updated in a modular fashion.

Hardware virtualisation allows all functions of a domain (e.g. body control, voltage distribution) to run together and simultaneously on a single Stellar MCU. With Stellar’s multi-core design, the number of integrated functions can be further expanded for a zonal or domain approach. Future E/E architectures will favour the spatial aggregation of functions, such as using zonal computers, as this reduces wiring throughout the vehicle as well as the overall complexity of the system. The wiring savings from zonalisation and virtual ECUs will result in reduced vehicle weight and integration efforts.

In addition to announcing the Coqos Hypervisor SDK for Stellar, OpenSynergy has extended its long-standing relationship and collaboration with STMicroelectronics by joining the STMicroelectronics Partner Programme, which helps customers reduce development effort and accelerate time to market by enhancing the ecosystem around STMicroelectronics’ broad product portfolio.


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