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Software Architecture for the eCar of the Future

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In a recent news release the Siemens AG addressed how important new information and communications technology will be in future electric cars. A German government funded project investigates in appropriate software architecture for such cars.

Currently, a lot of software is already deployed in cars such as functionality for the emergency braking system, proximity-controlled cruise control, or actice parking aids. However, all the´se features are making the introduction of new features increasingly labor-intensive and expensive. For instance, some components need to be connected with various data transmission systems.  Thus, it is almost impossible to add new functions that were not planned before the manufacturing system starts. According to the Siemens researchers, electromobility offers the opportunity to rework the ICT architecture and to quickly integrate new functions. 

The central research division of the company is participating in a project funded by the German Government called RACE (Robust and Reliant Automotive Computing Environment for Future eCars). Goal of the project is

to bring together all the functions in a few central computers with a single bus system. The advantage here is that new systems would be installed via Plug&Play technology like on a PC - extra control units and wiring would no longer be necessary. The new architecture should also enable the vehicle to communicate with a future intelligent power grid and transport system and allow the development of completely new functions - such as an "autopilot" that could steer the vehicle autonomously in the distant future. 

The ICT architecture is being implemented in two electric cars. In the “Evolution” prototype existing vehicle technology will be incrementally replaced with new components, while a “Revolution” is being built from ground up.

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