Edge computing is the hot topic in 2022. Especially in the automotive industry, edge implementations will massively drive the development of modern vehicles that are software-controlled, autonomous and connected. In the current eMove360° magazine in german language – download here for free, Harald Ruckriegel, Chief Technologist Automotive and Strategic Business Development at Red Hat, describes some key trends that will shape the industry. This includes:
1. Software-defined Everything
The chip shortage has also hit the automotive sector massively, often even more than other sectors. One reason for this is that the automotive OEMs are not among the main customers of the few chip manufacturers who can generate significantly higher sales volumes in other sectors. For requirements in high-end areas, such as chip provision in telecommunications or in data centers, manufacturers can also achieve higher margins than in the automotive segment. This development has further strengthened a general trend, the software-defined everything, i.e. the decoupling of software from hardware. In addition to hardware independence, it enables standardization and offers many advantages such as lower costs, greater scalability and flexibility, and simplified management. By abstracting the software from the hardware, new functions can also be provided more quickly. The vehicle embedded world was previously characterized by a high level of specialization with the use of numerous control devices, the so-called ECUs (Electronic Control Units). The software-defined concept now also enables the development of ECUs that can cover multiple functions. As a result, fewer control units have to be installed. In principle, the software-defined approach from the edge, i.e. the vehicle, through the data center to the cloud, will become increasingly important.
Edge computing will also have a significant impact on the value chain of manufacturers in the automotive sector: with comprehensive networking from research and development to sales and marketing to production and after-sales. One consequence is the stronger linking of the pre-SOP (start of production), SOP and post-SOP phases. As a result, previously separate worlds such as vehicle edge and factory edge will grow closer together. Vehicle Edge covers vehicle onboard and offboard and is a basic requirement for the implementation of the so-called ACES concept. It stands for autonomous driving (Autonomous), networking (Connected), electric drives (Electrified) and flexible use (Shared/Services). And Factory Edge forms the basis for innovative Industry 4.0 and IoT scenarios and thus for efficient and intelligent business processes that support the development of smart vehicles. Due to increasing networking, data can be obtained from the connected car, for example, which flows directly into the development and production process. In addition, overarching use cases can also be implemented, ranging from vehicle-specific smart car functions to service topics such as mobility services and ride sharing.
3. Open Source
Many future developments are going in the direction of open source. To date, standardization in the automotive segment has been driven by development partnerships such as AUTOSAR via specifications. The result is very extensive, complex standards that entail a great deal of effort for the OEMs. In addition, the “standardization via open source” approach, which supports implementation-driven standardization, is becoming more and more established. A comprehensive, continuously growing open source ecosystem can be used. At the same time, an increased trend towards the use of open source and modern software technologies can also be seen in the existing standards.
4. Hybrid-Cloud and Multi-Cloud
The increasing networking and digitization in the automotive sector also require the use of a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud IT infrastructure. This is the only way to provide applications in short development cycles in a dynamically scalable environment. It should be noted that edge topics cannot simply be brought to the cloud, but that the IT technologies must be relocated to the place of use. The edge therefore places strong integration requirements – for example in terms of real-time processing, security or safety. As a result, an open hybrid cloud platform must also support edge deployments, that is, it must act as a common horizontal platform that provides a unified development and operational experience from core to edge. Red Hat provides such a platform with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.
5. Community Engagement
Numerous communities, initiatives and project groups are actively driving developments in the automotive segment. These include SOAFEE (Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge), SDV.edge (Software-Defined Vehicle) from the Eclipse Foundation and ELISA (Enabling Linux In Safety Applications). The focus is on topics such as software-defined vehicle, edge, Linux as the operating system in the vehicle, container runtime or cloud connectivity. Red Hat is also represented in numerous initiatives and, for example, is significantly involved in the design of an in-vehicle OS on the CentOS Stream development platform with its own Automotive Special Interest Group.
Most automotive OEMs are currently intensifying their activities and developments related to autonomous driving and driver assistance systems, smart cars and infotainment, as well as mobility services and smart cities. Edge computing and hybrid cloud models are key technology drivers. And open source solutions often form the elementary infrastructure platform.