05/17/2023

A platform for software-defined vehicles

Digital platforms breathe new life into the development and operation of software-based vehicle functions. With PANTARIS, ETAS provides a highly flexible solution that is tailored to the specific needs of the automotive industry. It will accelerate the development of new functions and simplify their integration in the vehicle.

The era of the smart "software-defined vehicle" has dawned. More and more functions of modern vehicles are being implemented in the form of software. This trend is accelerated by the ongoing transformation toward electromobility and automated driving. This brings with it both opportunities and challenges: on the one hand, software functions can now be retrofitted and updated over the air (OTA) thanks to ever-increasing connectivity. On the other hand, the overall complexity must remain at a manageable level and the necessary cybersecurity must also be assured if the current predictions of a tenfold increase in software code become a reality.

One thing is already clear: the current heterogenous tool landscape will be unable to cope with these challenges. New, cloud-based platform concepts are required to support the rapid development and validation of the software-based functions along with their efficient administration. Such concepts will allow us to overcome existing challenges, which include the predominantly proprietary development of functions, the strong connection between software and hardware development, or the very department-specific implementation of individual functions, and instead establish digital workflows that can be used across different organizations. However, this requires open access to the vehicle’s E/E infrastructure as well as the associated standardized software interfaces.

Wanted: flexible and automotive-specific digital platform

With development projects in the automotive sector becoming ever more complex, bringing all the relevant parties together on a cloud-based platform creates transparency, simplifies collaborative processes, and facilitates access to tools and services in the form of apps. Public cloud solutions are one option: in this case, the providers supply the infrastructure for hosting the relevant functions and data and making them available in the cloud along with the necessary tools and services. The necessary IT resources are usually procured from third parties. In the automotive sector, however, this seemingly affordable option will soon reach its limits due to the very specific requirements that apply to the development and operation of software and services. The specific E/E architectures and interfaces, the very high and increasingly regulated safety and security requirements, and the rising need for OTA functions to enable software updates from the cloud are just some of the factors that highlight the overwhelming need for tailored solutions in the automotive context. And these should include, for instance, special safety management systems that cover the complete end-to-end communication from the fleet management to the software stack in the vehicle. Moreover, in the interests of full compatibility, it is essential that all products and services meet the latest automotive standards and specifications.

Given the wealth of specific requirements for an automotive cloud platform and the ever-increasing complexity of the associated software development, extensive expertise is needed to effectively plan, develop, and design such platforms. And this expertise must encompass not just the software functions themselves but also the relevant tools, the applicable regulations, industry standards such as AUTOSAR, as well as concrete safety and security solutions. Failure to consider important aspects in the design phase carries the risk of compatibility problems and lock-in effects during operation. In the event of an insufficient security architecture, the data will not be adequately protected, nor will the vehicle be effectively shielded against cyberattacks. Furthermore, insufficient validation and testing of practical processes can result in inefficiencies, and if developers are left without their preferred tools, acceptance problems are all but guaranteed.

ETAS provides a sophisticated solution with PANTARIS

With its PANTARIS cloud-based integration platform, ETAS provides a sophisticated solution that is tailored to the precise needs of the automotive industry. It combines the wealth of expertise gained by ETAS in cross-domain projects covering the entire process chain of automotive software development in a single ecosystem. This provides the necessary framework for the secure, standardized processing and transmission of data. With its integrated development portal, PANTARIS supports fully digital workflows. Providers and users of services and tools have access to a manufacturer-independent marketplace. PANTARIS thus represents the infrastructure for the secure OTA data transfer between vehicles and the cloud backend as well as the solution for software updates and additional services – throughout the entire vehicle life cycle.

PANTARIS - Service portal for automotive applications

Thanks to standardized interfaces and functions in both the vehicle and cloud, the development and operation of software becomes a permanently transparent process, in which development teams have access to predefined basic functions. Optional service modules are also available, with which the bidirectional data exchange between the vehicle and cloud can be used for innovative value-adding services. The platform thus forms a future-proof basis for efficient collaboration.

Service providers benefit from a scalable environment, in which they can develop, host, and operate software and services with utmost speed and simplicity. This is supplemented by an agnostic technology stack, which is easily portable into any cloud – thereby ensuring straightforward compatibility. Moreover, the containerized runtime environment is immediately ready for use, thus allowing providers to proceed directly to the development of their business logic without having to spend any time on setting up the infrastructure. The shared development environment also ensures that teams can collaborate effectively across all departments, areas, and functions, while the reliable version control even allows them to work in parallel and securely manage all source code changes. Validation and test processes also follow a clear workflow.

Finally, the marketplace facilitates customer access as well as the channeling of advertising measures and the creation of license models. In conclusion: as a tailor-made cloud platform for automotive projects, PANTARIS will give rise to a great deal of synergies when it comes to establishing transparent, highly efficient development processes for the software-defined vehicle of the future.

  • On the road to the software- defined vehicle Developing and operating software and services with greater efficiency Read the full whitepaper

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