VW.os, the operating system for Volkswagen Group vehicles of the future

VW.os, the operating system for Volkswagen Group vehicles of the future

The new architecture will include hardware and software and will be the basis for all functions and applications. The benefits? Simplification, efficiency and scalability.

The next generations of Volkswagen Group vehicles will feature the new VW.os operating system, which will fit into the technology platform developed by CARIAD and will be at the heart of all software-based functions in the cars.

VW.os does not come from a blank sheet of paper, but is a 'system of systems' that will shape a scalable, unified software platform that will include elements developed in-house and combined with solutions provided by partners. Such a structure is referred to as a 'stack,' which is a pile of IT data.

Three layers

The tech stack developed by CARIAD consists of three layers. At the bottom there is the hardware layer, consisting of a uniform and scalable end-to-end electronics architecture. This includes zone controllers, a high-performance computer, and tailor-made semiconductors. At the top are the applications, with all the solutions and functions dedicated to users.

Between these two levels is the software: here the VW.os operating system is combined with other software features such as over-the-air update capability, the Big Loop data aggregation system, and the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud. This software layer acts as a glue that holds everything together and also includes the middleware needed to integrate hardware and application layers.


Complex systems

The VW.os operating system consists of an SDK (software development kit), reference applications, runtime software components, configuration tools for embedded software, and cloud connection.

Modern cars can have more than 100 ECUs (electronic control units), each responsible for a specific function and each based on its own proprietary software stack - a problematic solution not only for the communication between ECUs, but also for performing updates, especially for functions that rely on several ECUs.

Within CARIAD's technology platform, the software layer - which will include, as mentioned, VW.os - will provide a consistent development environment that will facilitate the work of developers in building and releasing robust functions and applications for all areas in the vehicle. In addition, regular over-the-air updates will be more extensive, allowing users to have up-to-date features throughout the entire lifetime of their car.


Comprehensive solution

VW.os is a comprehensive solution that supports the overall vehicle system, as well as every individual function and related services. It provides the highest level of safety requirements according to the Automotive Safety Integrity Level risk classification scheme. It can also be used in both hard real-time systems, which impose strict response time requirements, and soft real-time systems.

CARIAD's software platform is a wise combination of open source, externally sourced components and in-house developed elements. This approach allows for choosing the right technology and innovating within a manageable and robust system.

Modular basis

Modular vehicle platforms such as MQB and MEB are the basis on which the vehicles of the Volkswagen Group's various brands are built. The VW.os operating system and the CARIAD technology stack will play the same role: they will be the software basis for the vehicles of all brands.

This modular approach enables greater simplification, more efficiency and scalability; it also allows developers to focus on the logic of individual functions without having to implement every specific detail of the underlying technology each time, thus increasing the added value for the end user. In parallel, development cycles and execution times are reduced, thanks to a deeper understanding of the overall system.

Simplifying development

A uniform software platform ensures a stable development environment, and hardware changes do not necessarily result in application adaptations. A stable environment also supports complex features such as advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving systems, allowing evolutions to be developed even when system vendors change.

In addition, by mastering update cycles and data collection, CARIAD and the Volkswagen Group will retain control over the user interface. Finally, knowing the system in depth means solving problems internally and faster, not to mention a significant cost reduction, in the long run, due to simplified system integration.

Unified platform

VW.os is being developed and released in an evolutionary manner, and the complete software platform will be introduced within the Volkswagen Group's Unified Platform 2.0. Some individual components will already be available in the premium platform 1.2 for Audi and Porsche. These include software updates, connection to the cloud, diagnosis and data collection capabilities. CARIAD's focus is on developing scalable systems, and even in the case of VW.os the Group’s software company believes it has the potential to cover additional platforms as well.

Source: CARIAD

VGI | Responsible OU: VP | Creation date: article date | Class 9.1

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