11 Aug 2022

Software-defined car lays foundations for future vehicle generations

The aim of the SofDCar project at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is to establish rules and processes for controlling all automotive software updates and upgrades in the future, as well as a consistent functional and IT security methodology to which they should adhere.

This will prevent individual programs from interfering with each other and ensure proper functioning within the system without any errors. This will be the prerequisite for the accelerated development of new functions and their safe use by drivers.

SofDCar is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Project partners from industry include BOSCH BooleWorks, ETAS, Mercedes-Benz, P3 digital services, T-Systems International, Vector Informatik, and ZF Friedrichshafen.

Vehicle Architecture Digital Twin

Part of the project involves developing an extended digital twin, a virtual image of the vehicle’s development and runtime data. In future, this twin will encompass the data distributed across the vehicle and in the cloud, from the time a vehicle is manufactured until it is scrapped.

This goes far beyond what was previously meant by the term digital twin. For the first time, it now covers the entire lifecycle of a modern vehicle and includes the cloud domain, apps, backend systems, and development systems. The project will ensure a single, unbroken information flow of vehicle data and software versions through all databases and servers. This will make it easier and above all quicker to implement software updates and new digital functions and services at any time.

Vehicle Software Security and Dependability

Within the framework of SofDCar, scientists will work on innovative development methods and quality assurance approaches for automotive industry, in particular with respect to IT security. Researchers plan to improve information administration and security checks, develop data analysis algorithms and data protection analyses, and provide identity and access administration systems, update methods, and backup strategies.

5G Test Track

At the University of Stuttgart, eight working groups from three departments are involved in the project. A major activity will be the setup of the Campus Vaihingen hybrid demonstrator. Using a real-time 5G test track on the ring road of the campus, it will be possible to test vehicles and setups of all partners on and off the road under close-to-reality conditions. There is particular interest in the use of software in the so-called edge backend, at information nodes outside vehicles in the future IT infrastructure.

Driving Simulator

Within SofDCar, a driving simulator, the only one of this kind in Europe, testers from the general population will be invited to participate in experiments to study the impacts of online software updates on the driving experience. Examples are new functions to improve comfort and driving security of partly and fully autonomous vehicles.

“The SofDCar project is a perfect example of how digitalization is pushed in vehicle technology – by companies of various branches in close cooperation with partners from science,” says Baden-Württemberg Science Minister Theresia Bauer.