New processing demands spur use of ‘virtual’ operating systems

Automotive-grade operating systems are helping to handle the increasingly complex processing demands of modern cars. By Freddie Holmes

Special report: High-performance computing in automotive

Digital cockpits and autonomous driving have brought new demands in terms of computing power and processing. Automakers are scouting for ways to reverse an increase in hardware complexity and run more functions through one operating system (OS).

The challenge in recent years has been the growing number of electronic control units (ECUs) entering the vehicle. These discrete ‘mini computers’ can control anything from the door locks and lights to parts of the powertrain. Modern vehicles might contain upwards of 100 ECUs, but consolidation is seen as a logical—and necessary—next step.

The industry has begun to avoid using many small computers and is instead looking at high-performance computing (HPC) platforms. These use domain controllers that can control multiple functions, and are considered the next frontier for…

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