Enabling the Software-Defined Vehicle with Wind River: Part 2
A Q&A with Avijit Sinha, Wind River Chief Product Officer
In the first part of my last blog, I covered a view of the industry and key challenges and trends, I’ll now turn the discussion to focus on technologies that can drive the software-defined vehicle forward.
How does Wind River Studio and Wind River edge products enable automotive companies?
Wind River Studio is a holistic solution, addressing the entire lifecycle from the coding stage to deploying code and all the way to making sure that the vehicle is safe and secure. We enable automotive companies to build software in the cloud using Wind River Studio, and then deploy it in the vehicle over the air.
Wind River has fundamental strengths in all the requisite areas. Within Studio, automotive companies can use our hypervisor which virtualizes the hardware. Or use Wind River Linux and our real-time operating system VxWorks to have a mixed criticality environment for safety-critical systems that run on real-time operating systems, and non-safety-critical systems that run on open source foundations, so they have one compute platform in the vehicle connected to the cloud that they can update over the lifetime of the vehicle.
We have capabilities built into the cloud for supporting cloud-native software development using modern DevSecOps capabilities and practices. The result is an end-to-end system that a Tier 1 or OEM can adopt to enable geographically dispersed engineering teams to build a software-defined vehicle and manage its software development throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle.
The DevSecOps framework has three key components: develop, deploy, and operate. In the develop arena, automotive OEMs and Tier 1 companies can use a software-driven pipeline to build software, software development kits to build applications and platforms, and a hardware simulator to simulate the functionality of the silicon and the hardware. This enables faster development and testing of the software in the cloud.
Then in terms of deploy, we can give companies the ability to update software over the air, into the car, and build a number of software components inside the car.
And the last part is operate. This is where the vehicle is operated over its lifecycle, but at the same time the automotive OEM can have a vehicle twin in the cloud that will always represent the state of the car. The OEM can use this digital representation in the cloud to study the car, test new software, and deploy to the vehicle.
Many OEMs are developing their own OS and middleware software components. Does this conflict with what the Wind River software portfolio brings to the table?
OEMs are building software competency, capability, and platforms themselves. However, there is a difference between what they are doing and our approach to the market. Software has many layers — hardware, platform, applications — and it can also include services.
Yes, some OEMs are building the operating system and applications. Their key need is the tools to develop those applications.
What we are building are the tools and the platform that enable automotive developers to build software operating systems and applications that go into the vehicle. So we are not competing or in conflict. We are enabling them to do the software development they want to do.
What is the Wind River advantage, competitive edge, or differentiating factor?
Let’s consider the competitive landscape. First, there are the existing players who have been developing software or tools for the automotive industry for a long time. Then there are those competitors who are new software development startups that are coming to cater to the automotive OEM.
In terms of the traditional software suppliers, they have not adopted the cloud-driven development model, so they’re developing using traditional methods — waterfall and old tools. The Wind River advantage is that we are cloud driven and we are building software using cloud-native patterns, so we are able to differentiate competitively.
As for the startups, while they are using modern software development patterns, they don’t have the industry experience to enable our customers to build mission-critical systems.
Wind River has been in business for more than 40 years, and through that time the company has survived through innovation. We have powered many safety-critical, high-availability, and high-reliability systems for decades, including can’t-fail systems such as autonomous systems, drones, delivery systems, avionics systems, and airplanes. For decades, VxWorks has been successfully deployed on countless space programs, powering the computing resources and automation underlying numerous critical space missions including the Mars rovers, James Webb Space Telescope, and many more. These are a few examples of how our technology is being used to power these new connected intelligent systems. We have proven leadership and competency to build software for safe, secure, reliable mission-critical systems.
As you look toward that future, what will be a key strategy?
Our vision is to enable our customers to build intelligent systems for the machine economy of the future. We believe there will be more intelligent systems in the world, and machines will become an even bigger part of the economy. Human beings and machines will work together to enable different scenarios and make life safer and more secure.
Our investment will be in cloud-driven technology software for intelligent systems and artificial intelligence, such that our customers can use our tools as they build the intelligent systems of our future.