Virtualisation platform supports secure integration of multiple applications in zone ECUs

Virtualisation platform supports secure integration of multiple applications in zone ECUs

New Products |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Renesas unveils an integrated automotive ECU virtualisation platform that enables developers to integrate multiple applications into one ECU (Electronic Control Unit) that are securely separated from each other to avoid mutual interference. This solution enables customers to introduce new E/E architectures with MCU-based zone ECUs that support multiple logical ECUs on one physical ECU. Migration to the new zone architecture maximises the reuse of existing components with minimal development effort. Developers benefit from, among other things, lower power consumption, reduced weight and reduced complexity of the wiring harness in the vehicle.

The ECU virtualisation platform combines Renesas’ RH850/U2x MCUs with ETAS’ RTA-HVR software, a hypervisor designed for microcontrollers with hardware virtualisation support. This platform provides an out-of-the-box demonstrator environment with pre-configured embedded software, tools and an interactive demonstrator environment for the RH850/U2x MCUs. This allows automotive customers to explore the development possibilities of their individual zone ECU design.

“The transition to a zone architecture increases the development effort by changing the functional role assignments between the central ECU and the individual zone ECUs,” explains Satoshi Yoshida, Senior Director, Automotive Digital Products Marketing Division at Renesas. “We believe that in addition to the high performance of the RH850/U2x MCUs, the new ECU virtualisation platform will provide our customers with the advantage of easy and fast development of advanced systems with integrated safety and security functions.”

“Working with Renesas, we were able to leverage the hardware-based capabilities of the RH850/U2x MCUs to develop a high-performance, low-overhead embedded hypervisor for automotive applications that complements leading Autosar OS technologies,” said Nigel Tracey, vice president of vehicle operating systems at ETAS.

The RH850/U2x MCUs, including RH850/U2A and RH850/U2B, provide a cost-effective and high-performance solution for next-generation zone/integration ECUs. They have extensive hardware features that enable the integration of multiple ASIL-D compliant software partitions. The products are specifically designed for zone architectures that aim to reduce the number of ECUs and minimise function development efforts. Features of the RH850/U2x MCUs include hypervisor hardware support, quality-of-service support (RH850/U2B only), safety and security functions, and a high-performance NoC (network-on-chip) structure to enable correct real-time behaviour of each integrated application.

ETAS’ RTA-HVR software works with the hardware virtualisation capabilities of the Renesas RH850U2x MCUs to provide one or more virtual machines (VMs). The VMs are separated both spatially (by the RH850U2x memory protection unit and peripheral protection function) and temporally (by the RTA-HVR VM scheduler) to meet stringent automotive safety and security requirements. RTA-HVR provides a toolkit for creating a virtual device extension (VDE). Each VM includes one or more virtual CPU cores, a sub-unit of device memory and a set of peripheral components.

As part of the solution, Renesas provides the RH850/U2x Zone-ECU Starter. It provides an out-of-the-box configuration of RTA-HVR with different VM configurations (single-core, multi-core and multi-VM per core). Guest software images are provided for each of the configured VMs, including bare metal and guest images using the RTA-CAR Classic Autosar solution from ETAS. Among other things, the ECU Starter supports virtual components for sharing peripherals and virtual network connections between VMs (“virtual CAN”).

The virtualisation platform, including the RH850/U2x Zone-ECU Starter Kit, will be available from the end of May.

Related articles:

ETAS, Blackberry QNX develop software platform on Autosar Adaptive

Bosch spins out application-independent vehicle software

Renesas targets high-volume markets with new generation of its R-Car SoCs

Renesas and AVL Software collaborate on functional safety for ECUs


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