Current-gen cars are typically equipped with up to 70 electronic control units (ECUs) tasked with driving numerous in-vehicle functions. In recent years, more constraints in areas such as security, environment, comfort and safety have resulted in an increased number of ECUs.
“These functionalities require simultaneous interactions by sensors, actuators and control units. However, the increasing development effort needed, combined with the complexity of signal interactions among ECUs, is making this issue a challenge for car manufacturers,” Atmel engineering rep Eric Tinlot told Bits & Pieces.
“To be sure, the ever-growing number of ECU nodes and increasingly complex interactions are causing a dramatic increase in the amount and complexity of software required. This, in turn, affects software scalability, reusability, maintenance and cost efficiency throughout the product’s life cycle.”
Enter the AUTOSAR Standard, also known as Automotive Software Platform and Architecture. This open and standardized automotive software platform and architecture was jointly developed by automotive manufacturers, suppliers and tools developers. Simply put, its framework helps manage various automotive ECUs and their complex signal interactions.
“From an ECU perspective, AUTOSAR provides an abstraction layer between hardware and application that allows hardware-independent development and testing of the application software,” Tinlot continued. “It also permits the reuse of a validated application from previous designs for a new one.”
That is why Atmel has collaborated with Vector Informatik to fully support our 32-bit automotive family devices in AUTOSAR via the MICROSAR bundle provided by Vector. More specifically, Atmel has developed a so-called microcontroller abstraction layer (MCAL) for its 32-bit AVR automotive family devices. These MCAL modules and Vector’s LIN/CAN communication layers are integrated into Vector’s complete MICROSAR environment (including OS, real-time environment, diagnostic, etc). Using Vector’s DaVinci, Atmel has also created a complete set of graphical user interfaces (GUI) for each MCAL module to help users configure required features.
“All MCAL modules have to be configured using their respective GUI screens. The user generates the required configuration files (.h and .c files) with a single click of the ‘generate’ toolbar icon (green triangle) at the top,” Tinlot noted. “These configuration files, the MCAL module, and the MICROSAR package can be compiled with any AUTOSAR application onto a 32-bit AVR automotive device to design an AUTOSAR-compliant ECU node.”
Interested in learning more about how Atmel is helping to accelerates automotive design with its extensive support for AUTOSAR? Be sure to check back tomorrow for part two of this series.