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Six Software Essentials for Commercial Vehicles

AUTOMOTIVE / 04.23.21 / Kevin Heawood

Commercial vehicles—trucks, buses, and delivery vans—must be cost efficient to build and maintain, and they must run reliably for decades. Yet, as the electronic architecture of such vehicles evolves and software complexity increases, their development, safety certification and cybersecurity become more difficult and costly to achieve.

That is why many OEMs are choosing a single commercial operating system (OS) for all critical electronic control units (ECUs)—digital cockpit, telematics, gateway, driver assistance—and seeking a vendor that can provide not only high-performance foundational software but also long-term product support and engineering services.

When considering options for foundational software for commercial vehicles, OEMs should look for six software essentials:

1. Performance and Reliability

A microkernel architecture to protect critical functions  

With over 40 years of experience, BlackBerry® QNX® provides OEMs with a reliable operating system for their critical systems, including those deployed in more than 175 million passenger vehicles. The QNX microkernel real-time OS (RTOS) isolates components so that a failure won’t impact the rest of the system. It also provides the determinism necessary to ensure high performance in the most difficult environments.

2. Safety Certifications

A streamlined path for industry certifications such ISO 26262

With a pre-certified operating system, OEMS need certify only what they build, not what it is built on. Pre-certified by TÜV Rheinland to IEC 61508 SIL 3 and ISO 26262:2018 ASIL D, the QNX® OS for Safety and QNX® Hypervisor for Safety can significantly reduce the certification burden.

3. Cybersecurity

Multi-layered security and protection for the entire software development lifecycle

The QNX Neutrino® RTOS provides layered security with a smaller attack surface, granular control of system privilege levels, an AES-256 encrypted and self-verifying filesystem, and secure boot. QNX Black Channel Communications Technology helps ensure safe data communication even over unsafe links (UDP, TCP, CAN), and BlackBerry Jarvis™ finds vulnerabilities without requiring access to source code.

4. Efficient Development

A foundation to meet the most challenging production schedules

“Using a single OS and hypervisor for high-performance systems in the truck delivers huge economical and technical benefits to our operations and enables us to bring customer value to market faster and more efficiently.” - Mikael Adelsberg, Senior Vice President of Connected, Autonomous and Embedded Systems at Scania.

To simplify porting and development, the QNX Neutrino RTOS and the QNX Hypervisor support the AUTOSAR Adaptive standard, are POSIX-compliant and use the Eclipse development environment. Safety-certified variants include C and C++ toolchains qualified to IEC 61508 and ISO 26262.

5. Long-Term Maintainability

A simple mechanism for porting legacy code and prototypes, and for upgrades

System complexity is best managed through simplification. That’s why OEMs embrace virtualization and the QNX Hypervisor which enable diverse OSs (such as QNX, Android™, or Linux) to run on a single system-on-a-chip (SoC). Building on a proven, high-performance hypervisor enables developers to reuse legacy code on new hardware and implement new features or upgrade entire systems while remaining confident that other systems won’t be adversely affected.

6. Safety and Security Services

Expert engineering services and safety-certification guidance

BlackBerry QNX provides extensive embedded development, functional safety training, and engineering services. Having successfully certified its own products, the QNX safety services team helps OEMs successfully navigate the arduous certification process. BlackBerry’s security services include cybersecurity and WP.29 readiness assessments as well as threat modeling and penetration testing.

Talk to the Safety Experts and Get a Free Book

Meet online with safety experts from BlackBerry QNX to discuss your certification project or learn more about our safety training courses and get a free copy of Embedded Software Development for Safety-Critical Systems by renowned functional safety expert Chris Hobbs.

Kevin Heawood

About Kevin Heawood

Kevin Heawood is a Field Application Engineer at BlackBerry QNX, EMEA.

Kevin Heawood’s mission is to help customers who are designing and deploying electronic control units (ECUs) in commercial vehicles such as trucks, vans, taxis, autonomous delivery bots and off highway/ heavy machinery, by providing technical expertise with real-time software and also providing help in the areas of functional safety and cybersecurity for vehicles.

Before joining BlackBerry QNX, Kevin Heawood completed a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and has worked in a wide range of embedded system roles, including chip design, real-time software, and running and owning software and hardware consultancies.