Updating automotive software over the air: prospects


After Tesla showed how much better the performance of cars with wireless software updates could be, other seasoned automakers began talking about how they too are developing software to create software-defined cars.

However, as The Essex sang, “easier said than done.”

Software-centric cars are a good topic of conversation with car stockholders. On the other hand, the idea of ​​creating and maintaining a large team of automotive software developers is more of a pipe dream than something that will happen soon. This is especially true in the context of automakers, whose strength lies not in writing millions of lines of code.

Probably, this state of affairs was foreseen by the company Elektrobit (Erlangen, Germany). Elektrobit is a leading provider of embedded software for the automotive industry.

On Wednesday, the company announced the creation of “the first industry-ready software platform.” The platform is called EB xelor.

EB xelor is designed for automotive OEM and Tier-1 manufacturers and aims to simplify and accelerate the development of next generation automotive architectures. The platform from Elektrobit uses their own software, some pieces of open source software and software components from third-party developers. EB xelor is a set of basic software (mostly standard) that OEMs and Tier-1 manufacturers can simply take and use – without wasting time reinventing the wheel. Thus, EB xelor saves manufacturers time by allowing them to focus on developing their own software for their own needs.

Elektrobit emphasizes that EB xelor’s software components are “safe, stable and easy to update”.

In an interview with the EE Times, Arthur Seidel, Elektrobit’s vice president for the Americas, said base and standard software make up 60% of all software in a car.

He also noted that “the basic software components [доступные в EB xelor] were developed and integrated and are now supported independently of each other … [но] we make sure they all work together and we will support them for the next 10-15 years. “

Egil Juliussen, a veteran automotive analyst, told the EE Times that EB xelor reminds him of how chip designers create complex systems on chips from reusable functional components. He said that “Elektrobit makes systems on chips from the software world.”

EB xelor: what’s under the hood?

Essentially EB xelor is a software package consisting of modules developed by EB itself, third-party software, and software components from open source projects. EB xelor includes:

  • High-performance automotive safety software stack based on Linux and Adaptive AUTOSAR
  • Classic AUTOSAR based security and real-time software stack
  • EB tresos – supervising observer system
  • Software for updating high-performance automotive systems on chips (SoC).

EB xelor is currently configured to work with chips from NXT and Renesas. Elektrobit claims that system-level validation is implemented for these chips. The company also explained that automakers will be able to integrate their own specific software to these stacks.

According to Elektrobit, EB xelor has built-in “health controls, tools and services to automate and facilitate integration.”


The architecture diagram of EB xelor shows that in addition to a Linux system that runs applications without critical security requirements, the platform also uses something called Linux (Safe). When asked to explain what Linux (Safe) is, Seidel replied that it is a Linux system that meets security standards such as IEC 61508 and ISO 26262. Elektrobit is working with SUSE to make Linux (Safe) available to all OEMs by 2021 year.

Elektrobit and VW

Elektrobit understands that a platform like EB xelor might want to be used by all car manufacturers. The thing is, when automakers stop working with legacy cars and take on modern automotive platforms (based on modules with high-performance controllers), they not only have to write a lot of code, but also integrate many open source utilities. OEM and Tier-1 manufacturers as well as various third-party software developers can participate in any such projects.

An example is the joint project between Elektrobit and VW – their ID.3 was the first all-electric vehicle with multiple high-performance control units. Seidel acknowledged that Elektrobit worked with VW on software for a variety of control units (the units ranged from the central control unit and gateway control systems to infotainment systems, communications systems and transceivers).


Difficulty estimates

Business model

Elektrobit grants a license to use EB xelor in automotive applications. The subscription provides the customer with “long term security support.”

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NPP ITELMA is always glad to young specialists, graduates of automotive, technical universities, as well as physics and mathematics departments of any other higher educational institutions.

You will have the opportunity to develop software of different levels, test, launch it into production and see in action the finished automotive products that you had a hand in creating.

The company has organized a special testing center, which makes it possible to conduct research in the field of ICE control, including in a car. The testing laboratory includes motor boxes, drum stands, temperature and climate control units, vibration stand, salt fog chamber, X-ray unit and other specialized equipment.

If you are interested in trying your hand at solving the problems that we have, write in a personal.


We are a large development company automotive components. The company employs about 2,500 employees, including 650 engineers.

We are, perhaps, the strongest center of competence in the development of automotive electronics in Russia. Now we are actively growing and have opened many vacancies (about 30, including in the regions), such as software engineer, design engineer, leading development engineer (DSP programmer), etc.

We have a lot of interesting tasks from car manufacturers and concerns that are driving the industry. If you want to grow as a specialist and learn from the best, we will be glad to see you in our team. We are also ready to share our expertise, the most important thing that happens in automotive. Ask us any questions, we will answer, we will discuss.

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