Today's vehicles feature a confusing multitude of electronic control units, each one for a specific purpose. The Connected Car approach as well as further expansion in functionality justify the expectation that the number of functions to be implemented and thus the complexity of the electronic viscera of the cars will continue to rise. Some OEMs - notably BMW - are already ponder architectures that combine multiple functionalities within one computer, or "domain controller" as BMW has baptised these devices. In such cases, the operational safety needs to be ensured by means of software - one of the more substantial challenges automotive electronics is facing currently. The platform currently under development from Finnish company Link Motion could (independentely from BMW) show how such a platform could look like.
During an industry meeting past December in Paderborn, Germany, Link Motion introduced its approach which provides a layered architecture to address safety issues. Targeting a fusion of the infotainment and instrument cluster, the platform also handles connectivity - and as such it also has to deal with the security threads arising from this capability. The lynchpin of the system is - in terms of security - the TrustZone in ARMs processor architecture, combined with virtualisation to separate the different operational environments.
Besides head unit and instrument cluster, the platform supports head-up displays, rear-view cameras and the CANopen protocol. It also offers connectivity through cellular, WiFI and Bluetooth connections as well as location services using GPS and Baidu.
Link Motion as a company is based in Tampere (Finland) and is itself formed out of a strategic alliance of several European and Asian software and hardware companies committed to the automotive industry.