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Our lives are inextricably linked with technology. We talk about our cell phones (and our relationships with them) all the time. Now we’ve got smart appliances, household cameras, banking and telehealth…the list goes on and on. Automotive must be part of this too, right? We’ve seen smart cars but this only scratches the surface. The automotive industry is deeply intertwined with our daily lives but its software advancements pale in comparison to other key pieces of our daily personal ecosystems.

And we know it’s not a perfect 1:1 comparison. While irritating, your smart refrigerator malfunctioning doesn’t rise to the same level as your car doing the same. Vehicles are complex to build and safety is critical. But we believe there are countless opportunities where Red Hat can help move the industry forward.

Back in 2011, Andreessen Horowitz famously said “software is eating the world,” and in the past 13 years, we’ve witnessed tremendous transformations across the globe, in every industry. When you abstract hardware from software, and provide APIs to each layer of technology, suddenly innovation can move at breakneck pace. During this time we’ve also witnessed just how impactful a collaborative, open source model can be in driving value. Open source isn’t just about opening up our code; it's more so about free-flowing collaboration - without boundaries of companies, industries and physical borders.

We’ve seen a lot of talk about open source for the automotive industry, but we want to take it farther than it is now. Specifically, right to the safety critical systems at the heart of software-defined vehicles (SDVs).

It’s like the venture capital world right? Everyone is waiting for someone else to jump in first, because they usually will. But at Red Hat, we’re jumping all the way in. Our 25+ years of history and experience supporting mission-critical applications in airlines, banks and hospitals, which require no less quality, reliability and security, gives us confidence that we can do it.

Since embarking on this journey, we’ve learned a lot and we’re thrilled that we’re seeing automotive industry leaders using our edge and AI-enabled solutions and leaning on our open source experience. Red Hat is teaming up with these key industry players to help fast-track SDV concepts into the market, backed by our edge expertise and new pre-tested and pre-integrated solutions all running on Red Hat-In Vehicle Operating System.

Today at Red Hat Summit, I’m pleased to talk about a few of these stories.

Pre-tested, pre-integrated software solutions

Today, we’ve been excited to share news with multiple industry leaders to help drive automotive innovation with open source. With Deloitte, we’re helping customers address escalating software complexity and quality risks for automakers and suppliers with a broad solution to assist in the design, operations and management of SDVs. This move provides the automotive industry with greater choice and flexibility.

With Renesas, we’re collaborating to build an open, flexible compute platform where Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System will be enabled in current and future generations of R-car solutions, empowering customers with end-to-end open car compute solutions for SDVs. This is especially meaningful as Renesas is embracing open source principals and contributing to upstream communities, helping to bolster industry-wide collaboration. This, in turn, fosters a culture of transparency and accessibility, a necessity for driving future advancements in automotive technology.

By working within our ecosystem to deliver these pre-tested, pre-integrated software solutions, Red Hat is helping accelerate the pathway to smarter vehicles.

Shifting gears with AI at the edge

Earlier I mentioned that we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what we can do with vehicles. Now that we’ve talked about how to get there, let's talk about what this will look like.

Today we announced that we’re working with Qualcomm Technologies and the Snapdragon Ride Flex system-on-chip (SoC) to showcase a complete end-to-end development and deployment of microservices-based advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) applications with a demo at Red Hat Summit. The Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC, with its pre-integrated hardware and software support for computer vision and AI, enables the development and deployment of ADAS applications. In the demo, the operator can invoke a retraining of the AI object detection model to recognize traffic lights, validated in the cloud emulation environment and then deploy to the vehicle instance in the booth. The seamless workflow is supported by a cloud-native automation software development process, which includes virtual platform simulation that can be integrated as part of in-cloud development operations (DevOps) and machine learning (MLOps) infrastructure. With this work, automakers will be able to better prototype software fixes, new features and revenue-generating services in the cloud before deployment to the car. They will then have the ability to deploy software updates to a factory test lab or directly to the vehicle in-service within mere minutes.

With the Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC’s ability to support digital cockpit, ADAS and automated driving capabilities on a single platform, automakers can feature generative AI capabilities, high-end graphic, gaming displays and rear entertainment screens concurrently with latency-critical audio experiences. With this, AI chatbots in the car to help interact with drivers through voice, local mapping, predictive maintenance, ADAS, traffic management and more. All of these use cases are in some way using AI at the edge by bringing AI algorithms and data analytics closer to the source of data generation, in the car itself, for faster decision-making and reducing reliance on external networks.

In SDVs, various sensors collect massive amounts of data from the vehicle's surroundings, including information about road conditions, traffic patterns, pedestrian movement and vehicle performance. AI algorithms deployed at the edge process this data in real-time to extract actionable insights and make autonomous driving decisions, enhance safety features, optimize vehicle performance and provide personalized in-car experiences for passengers.

Navigating security and compliance for a functionally safe Linux

SDVs have brought upon a paradigm shift. And amidst this revolution, it's important to also drive robust security and compliance measures. As SDVs become increasingly interconnected and reliant on complex software ecosystems, the vulnerability to cyber threats escalates exponentially. Moreover, regulatory bodies and industry standards demand stringent adherence to compliance frameworks to safeguard user privacy, data integrity and overall road safety. Multiple automotive applications, including digital cockpit and ADAS, typically require functional safety certification using ISO26262. Thus, establishing comprehensive security protocols and upholding regulatory compliance are paramount to realizing the full potential of SDVs while fostering trust among consumers and stakeholders alike.

With the advent of modern in-car compute architectures leveraging central compute and zonal controllers, automakers are consolidating multiple functions on a single SoC. With this, Linux becomes an attractive option for more automotive applications employing modern architectures, but the lack of compliance to functional safety standards presents adoption challenges. Previously, safety certification has strongly favored a traditional waterfall-like  development paradigm whereas Linux employs a community based, agile, open source model.

Red Hat is continuing to work with exida to develop a tailored approach to functional safety, one that emphasizes Linux strengths while still achieving the risk management objectives of ISO26262. In our work with exida, we have been able to make significant progress and are on track to meet our goal of achieving ISO 26262 v2 certification of Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System at ASIL-B as a Safety Element out of Context (SEooC), enabling broad adoption of Linux to host safety critical workloads along with non-safety workloads on the same OS. We are sharing the Red Hat approach to safety certification in our breakout session entitled “Bringing functional safety to open source: how an evolution in approach improves safety outcomes” at Red Hat Summit.

To learn more about our work for automotive at the edge, please visit our edge booth in Red Hat Central at Red Hat Summit to see demos, talk to experts and more. 

About the author

Francis Chow is currently VP & GM, In-vehicle Operating System and Edge at Red Hat. Previously, he spent five years at VMware and was VP, Operations, Business Development and Strategy of the Telco and Edge Cloud Business Unit. Prior to VMware, Chow spent about 20 years in the semiconductor industry in leadership roles spanning across Engineering, Corporate Development, Marketing and Sales, and was a VP/GM for a $1B P&L before venturing into the software world. Chow holds an MBA and an MSEE from University of California at Berkeley and a BSEE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has seven US patents.

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