We partnered with HighTec EDV-Systeme, the largest commercial open source compiler vendor in the world, and who is now the first official reseller of our automotive software products for our SPC5 microcontrollers. The German company, which has offices around the globe, is a member of our Partner Program and will provide licenses as well as advice on hardware and software implementation. Working with HighTec enables us to reach a much broader market and better assist startups or younger companies looking to innovate in the automotive industry. Very often, smaller teams can feel like they have a harder time interacting with large solution providers. Tier 2 or Tier 3 companies have significant innovations and ideas, but they may have difficulties bringing them to market. By partnering with HighTec, we are ensuring that no engineer is left behind, and even smaller structures can easily get access to our software and know-how.
It’s important to understand that a car includes a lot of various modules and units that come together to enhance the driver’s and passengers’ experience. For instance, we offer NFC solutions adopted by Mercedes, among many other vendors, which allow keyless entry. At the core of a majority of the features we enjoy in our vehicles is an ECU, an electronic control unit that acts as the brain of various operations. Our SPC5 microcontrollers are in a lot of ECUs that govern features such as adaptive front lighting solutions or electronic fuel injection for smaller vehicles. A reason behind the success of the SPC5 is the fact that we work on its hardware and software to massively increase optimizations. By partnering with HighTec, we ensure that more teams get access to our solutions and know-how to take advantage of all the features they include.
3 Software Packs and a Great Way to Enjoy the AUTOSAR Framework
We offer three software packs through HighTec: MCAL (MicroController Abstraction Layer) Drivers, Safety, and Security. They all represent building blocks that developers can use to write their applications. The first one includes low-level drivers that enable the creation of optimized operating systems, and that conform to the AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture (AUTOSAR). A car has a tremendous amount of ECUs, sometimes in excess of 100, and writing firmware for each of them is extremely complex. Moreover, software for the automotive industry demands familiarity with technical terms and programming paradigms that developers don’t often find outside this industry. Hence, AUTOSAR is beneficial because it enables a common core that fosters innovations while still allowing vendors to offer differentiating features. As the AUTOSAR consortium, often says, “Cooperate on standards, compete on implementation.” ST is a premium member of the consortium.
By offering MCAL drivers that adhere to the ISO 26262 standard and that are compatible with the AUTOSAR framework, we ensure that engineers can write code that’s easily portable to other hardware configurations or various car makers. Additionally, by using our Safety and Security Pack, teams can integrate all the necessary features that automotive standards require to keep consumers safe. The Security Pack helps use, test, and configure the hardware security module (HSM) that is at the center of fundamental functionalities, such as secure firmware install or updates, and cryptographic operations. The Safety Pack will offer APIs to call functions that prevent or correct errors and strengthen the application’s robustness. Both the Safety and Security Pack provide APIs compatible with the AUTOSAR framework to facilitate development operations further.
Beyond the Software Pack, the ST Expertise From a Long-Time Partner
One feature of AUTOSAR is the ability to provide an abstraction layer that will work on numerous hardware platforms. Nonetheless, hardware still plays a crucial role since specific APIs, such as those taking advantage of the HSM, are highly dependent on it, and teams need the microcontrollers to be efficient and powerful to differentiate an ECU from other competing systems. After working with HighTec for more than ten years, we know that the German company can offer stellar advice on ST hardware to customers looking to build a unique system. Additionally, their teams can provide customer support and software implementation experience to ensure teams develop their systems faster. The reason we are thrilled about this partnership is that we know that it will enable startups and smaller organizations to get their hands on the same software, hardware, and expertise that Tier 1 companies already enjoy, thus fostering creativity and disruption.