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Spotlight on ETAS

13 May 2020

In today's 'Spotlight on...' feature, ETAS have provided us with the following insights into recent challenges and thier current projects: 

What is ETAS doing to protect its business and supply chain during the current coronavirus pandemic? How quickly do you think the industry will recover once it is brought under control?

ETAS is committed to taking a coordinated, joint approach with customers, suppliers, authorities, and associate representatives. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we anticipate considerable challenges for the global economy in the current business year. We are preparing ourselves for a global recession which will also have a considerable impact on our own performance in 2020. Currently, our focus is on extensive measures to reduce costs and secure liquidity. 

As the automotive industry adopts new mobility solutions, what do you see as the major opportunities and challenges for your business?

E-mobility, connectivity, (partially) automated driving, mobility services, automotive apps… The list of technical challenges goes on and on. What will be launched onto the market – and how quickly? However, they all have one thing in common: Software plays the leading role in most innovations.

The pressure to change is enormous. Major players from the world of IT are forcing their way into the market. New mobility business models for vehicles in the field are growing in importance. Many software projects are developed separately from the hardware. In addition, the very highest safety and security requirements apply for automotive software – especially in the field of ADAS/AD. Therefore, the challenge is to launch innovative software quickly, safely, and economically onto the market before continuously updating it in the field. Agile development methods, virtual validation, and continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) are all prerequisites for success.

The speed and scope of the changes in automotive software development have never been as significant as they are today. Positive, close cooperation and partnerships are more important than ever for this. The time for pure isolated solutions is definitely over. We believe that ETAS is an important enabler for our customers’ success in these very challenging market conditions.

What major benefits has ETAS innovation RTA-VRTE (Vehicle Runtime Environment) brought to the automotive industry?

The platform software framework RTA-VRTE (Vehicle Runtime Environment) makes it possible to partition the vehicle computer (VC) into virtual machines that are free from mutual interference and to integrate disparate data and signal transmission structures based on POSIX-compliant operating systems. Whether domain consolidation, new convenience functions, or security updates – thanks to partitioning and freedom from interference in encapsulated virtual machines (VMs), it is no longer necessary to update all applications in the course of integration and further development. As in PCs and smartphones, ongoing function upgrades and software updates will be possible.

Additionally, software development can be completely separated from hardware. RTA-VRTE therefore runs on any μP-based hardware, regardless of whether it’s a VC or a PC, paving the way for end-to-end virtualization of software development. After all, software that already operates in the vehicle on encapsulated partitions of the vehicle computer – in other words, on virtual ECUs – can be developed on any PC on virtual ECUs. This is made possible by appropriate hardware abstraction layers.

Precisely this approach is the basic idea underlying ETAS’ Early Access Program, which enables early starters to explore future methods and architectures.

In common with all companies in the automotive space, recruiting top talent is a key priority.  Your partnership and collaboration on projects with universities enable students to experience ETAS innovative products and solutions in the classroom.  Do you find that your involvement in this area has helped to produce a supply of qualified candidates that meet your demands, or are there still skills gaps that we need to address?

Training and qualifying new talents is a crucial component of the automotive development ecosystem. Connected systems are becoming increasingly complex as we move from one vehicle generation to the next – and that makes it more important than ever for students in the automotive sector to familiarize themselves with the use of new tools and methods from an early stage of their training.

That’s where we come in. We give universities the opportunity to acquire a comprehensive portfolio of innovative products and solutions under special terms. By taking advantage of this offer, teachers get access to established products that are typically used in the automotive industry. That means they can incorporate software development methods of the very highest standards in their classes, including measurement, calibration, and diagnostics. We also offer additional support to universities in the form of IoT security products and solutions from our subsidiary ESCRYPT. In addition to providing specific products and solutions, we get actively involved on the teaching side through a range of collaborative projects.

Furthermore, we have spent many years supporting teams in the Formula Student Germany international design competition as one of the event’s main sponsors. Together, these activities represent our contribution to promoting research and teaching and fostering students’ education.

FISITA thanks ETAS for thier insights. For more information on ETAS please visit their membership page.

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