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Twelfth Real-Time Linux Workshop on October 25 to 27, in Nairobi, Kenya

OVERSEE - a generic FLOSS communication and application platform for vehicles

Nicholas Mc Guire, Andreas Platschek, Georg Schiesser and Thomas Hisch, OpenTech EDV Research GmbH, Austria

Following the trend already set by the avionics industry, the target of  the OVERSEE project is to create a platform that allows to integrate multiple ECUs into  one  hardware node, while protecting them from each other. This protection in time and memory ensures the independence of residing applications and their real-time requirements.

This approach does not only allow the reuse of (legacy) software modules based on the temporal and spacial isolation, which ensures preserving the dependability, safety and security properties of the individual legacy modules, but also lends it self to modular validation. It potentially also reduces the number of ECUs in the car, leading to a decrease of power consumption, a decrease in weight and allows a higher utilization of the hardware nodes. Reduction of the number of ECUs is not only a cost issue but also a reliability issue. The more systems deployed independently in a car the higher the complexity - the current level of up to 80 ECUs is most likely close to the limit that is economically tolerable.

In addition, OVERSEE will provide a secure interface from the outside world into the vehicle, allowing the connection of the car to the internet in a secure and safe  manner.  This connection can be used by the driver to download new applications and data (e.g. maps, software  updates,...) into the OVERSEE ECU, providing data communication to the vehicle vendor and/or authorities as well as allow the migration of data from off-car locations while fully preserving privacy, integrity and authentication.

OVERSEE is committed to the usage of open-source technologies and anticipates the creation of an environment that will allow automotive enthusiasts to bring new applications - beyond the creativity of traditional automotive vendors - to the road.
In this article we will outline the goals of OVERSEE, the current state of assessment efforts and the preliminary design of the OVERSEE platform. Though OVERSEE is in an early design stage feedback from the open-source community is essential to ensure that this platform can satisfy the needs of industrial users as well as the open-source community.

It is an expressed goal of the OVERSEE project consortium to provide the necessary community infrastructure to allow creation of an active open-source community in the automotive context and thus not only enhance the capabilities of on-board software but lead to entirely new capabilities at the concept level.