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Linux virtualization tech tapped for telematics

Oct 1, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Wind River announced a major design win with Hughes Telematics for a Linux-based automotive telematics system. Hughes will use Wind River's new virtualization technology, as well as Wind River Linux for the company's next-generation telematics control unit (TCU), says Wind River.

Set to ship in 2009, the “end-to-end telematics solution” will use Wind River's virtualization technology to reduce development and hardware costs, says Hughes Telematics, which bills itself as one of the leading companies in automotive telematics. Specifically, the Wind River hypervisor will enable the TCU to simultaneously run Wind River Linux and a real-time CAN (Controller Area Network) bus stack on the same processor, thereby saving on hardware costs. The virtualized TCU will retain real-time requirements for performance and boot time, and enable Hughes “to leverage the rich Linux environment for other applications,” says the company.

Stated Erik Goldman, president of Hughes Telematics, “Wind River was able to provide HUGHES Telematics with a growth path for future innovative products by coupling commercial Linux with automotive-specific extensions and virtualization technology, along with deep industry expertise.”

According to Alex Kocher, general manager of the automotive segment at Wind River, the design win “represents what we believe is the beginning of hardware consolidation for automotive manufacturers and suppliers, as indicated by early traction of our virtualization technology.”

When it was announced in June, the so-far unnamed Wind River hypervisor was scheduled for a “technology preview” release for Intel and PowerPC platforms, with MIPS and ARM releases set to follow later in the year. The hypervisor is based on a virtualization option that has long been available for Wind River's VxWorks distribution. In the Linux version, customers can build upon the minimal VxWorks-based hypervisor with additional layers. However, it will not offer a minimalist POSIX execution environment. For more details, see our earlier interview with Wind River CTO Tomas Evensen, here.

In May, Wind River also announced a more stripped-down, open-source automotive infotainment stack targeted at Intel's Atom processor. The stack is being contributed to the Intel-sponsored Moblin project.


Hughes Telematics's next-generation TCU incorporating Wind River Linux will ship sometime in 2009, says the company. More information on Wind River's automotive products may be available here.

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