NXP S32 CoreRide Platform Simplifies Development of Software-Defined Vehicles

NXP collaborates with software companies and Tier 1 suppliers to develop a platform that enables ECU consolidation.

NXP collaborates with software companies and Tier 1 suppliers to provide the open CoreRide Platform. (NXP)

A new industry-first open platform for developing the software-defined vehicle (SDV) combines processing, vehicle networking and system power management with integrated software. NXP Semiconductors’ new S32 CoreRide Platform was designed to run “multiple time-critical, safety-critical, security-critical applications in parallel,” Henri Ardevol, executive vice president and general manager of Automotive Embedded Systems for NXP Semiconductors, told SAE Media.

“No one company can do it all,” NXP’s Henri Ardevol said, noting the relevance of a new foundational platform for software-defined vehicles developed in collaboration with partners. Ardevol and a few partner company representatives talked with media members in Detroit on March 26. (NXP)

NXP’s new foundation platform for SDVs differs from the traditional approach of using multiple electronic control units (ECUs), each designed to handle specific vehicle system control tasks. Since each unit requires its own integration work, the integration workload exponentially increases with each additional ECU on a vehicle.

Today’s entry-level vehicles typically have 25 ECUs, while a luxury vehicle can have as many as 150. The new CoreRide Platform can reduce the number of ECUs required. “But much more importantly, the CoreRide Platform provides a consistent, centralized software development environment,” Ardevol said.

Sonatus’ John Heinlein said collaboration is key to delivering a software-defined vehicle. (Sonatus)

The CoreRide Platform includes the new S32N family of super-integration processors to handle scalable real-time and application processing for vehicle control – aspects like the feel and quickness of steering and ride comfort – as well as other vehicle functions. “We are not focusing on the display part of infotainment or on the vision-processing side of ADAS because these are very specific applications that require dedicated hardware accelerators and run-time environments,” Ardevol said.

Scalability – as it relates to performance, computing memory, electrical/electronic architecture coverage, system power management, and networking breadth – underpins the platform. Another inherent benefit is design flexibility, which is key to SDVs because every automaker has a different starting point, its own competencies and capabilities, and a distinct product range. “The value chain used to be very rigid and very vertical, and now it’s a circle around the OEM,” Ardevol said. “We are all trying to work with each other to facilitate the transition to SDVs.”

Collaborations ahead

“When we talk about SDVs, we often forget that there’s a hardware part to it,” said Valeo’s Derek de Bono. (Valeo)

NXP’s collaboration-focused approach begins with other suppliers. “We are working with our partners on the fundamental pieces of the platform’s software – operating system, middleware services, and in some cases up to the application – to make sure that we deliver an optimized technology stack,” Ardevol said.

John Heinlein, chief marketing officer for start-up SDV technology company Sonatus, based in Sunnyvale, California, said that having NXP bring together key providers of complementary software technologies was a smart move. “The software problem that you have to solve to deliver an SDV is becoming more and more complicated,” Heinlein said. “It requires collaboration across hardware and software to accelerate time to market and reduce the engineering burden.”

Tier 1 supplier Valeo is also among the dozen partner companies involved with the CoreRide Platform. “We look at the CoreRide Platform as a real enabler to be able to scale and adapt to the needs of future processing power in the vehicle,” said Derek de Bono, software-defined vehicle product vice president and group product marketing vice president for the Valeo Group.

Vehicles using the new platform could reach the global market around the end of this decade. “We’re trying to make it easier, simpler and faster for OEMs by doing a lot of the pre-integration work for software-defined vehicle development,” Ardevol said.