Ultimate Guide to Connected Vehicle Platforms

What Is a Connected Vehicle Platform?

Connected Vehicle Platforms are software solutions that allow automotive manufacturers to create enhanced driving experiences for connected cars. Typically, these platforms consist of an embedded operating system (OS) that acts as both infrastructure and framework to support the development and deployment of vehicle-related applications and services. Connected Vehicle Platforms also facilitate communication between the car and compatible devices in its surroundings, such as smart traffic lights. 

This communication is central to what defines a connected car—the capacity to share data with other devices both within the cockpit and outside the vehicle. Connected cars typically feature a digital user interface for drivers and passengers as well as onboard software that promotes driver safety and optimizes various components of the vehicle’s operation.  

Connected Vehicle Platform Benefits

The key benefits of a Connected Vehicle Platform include: 

  • A turnkey software solution that doesn’t require specialized skills in embedded systems or automotive software development
  • Access to critical vehicle data to improve operations and develop better in-vehicle experiences
  • Improved data security for customers
  • Development and deployment at scale with vehicle-, platform-, and OS-agnostic code. 
  • Considerably reduced development costs and time-to-market

A few decades ago, a car might feature a radio—and little else. Back then, onboard infotainment systems were a rarity and often so prohibitively expensive that very few people saw their need. But times have changed.

As the world has embraced the Internet of Things, demand for highly connected vehicles with advanced cockpits and personalized user experiences has grown exponentially. Yet, developing the software for these vehicles is anything but easy. Automotive software is complex by nature—an intricate web of embedded systems, user-oriented features, and disparate, single-function systems. 

Using a Connected Vehicle Platform as middleware addresses this complexity and makes it far easier for automotive manufacturers to integrate multiple systems into a cohesive whole.  

Other Benefits of Connected Vehicle Platforms

  • Access to an ecosystem of dedicated application developers
  • New revenue streams to propel growth
  • Acceleration of certifications with frameworks like ISO 26262
  • Lower computing costs with edge data processing
  • Advanced algorithms to improve in-vehicle operations, safety, and user experience
  • Support for integration of third-party hardware and software
  • Management of mixed-criticality systems when paired with an embedded OS

Use Cases for Connected Vehicle Platforms

At their core, Connected Vehicle Platforms help automotive manufacturers reduce the cost and complexity of developing and integrating onboard software in connected cars. They provide a level of standardization and stability that enables development at scale while also allowing manufacturers to incorporate more advanced features and functions. Post-development, these systems’ potential use cases are varied and diverse. 

  • Fleet management for commercial vehicles
  • Autonomous driving
  • Advanced traffic management and optimization in smart cities
  • Improved vehicle safety
  • Data sharing with emergency responders 
  • Detailed traffic mapping
  • Improved fuel and engine efficiency
  • Predictive maintenance and troubleshooting
  • Better location intelligence and personalization
  • Advanced personalization for drivers
  • Deep analytics for manufacturers and developers

Connected Vehicle Platform Architecture

Typically, the software architecture of a connected vehicle consists of four layers. 

1. User Applications

The topmost layer consists of software and services that interact or interface directly with the driver. Systems at this layer include digital cockpits, infotainment, vehicle controls, instrument clusters, and acoustics. 

2. Instrumentation

This layer typically includes complex controllers, ADAS systems, and secure gateways. In other words, systems that pertain to the vehicle’s functionality but with which the driver does not interact directly. 

3. Embedded OS

This is the foundation for all other systems on the vehicle and facilitates both interconnectivity and sandboxing. The embedded OS typically interfaces directly with the Connected Vehicle Platform, which is usually cloud-based. 

4. Hardware

The bottom-most layer of a connected vehicle. This includes the chip on which the embedded OS is installed and the physical, connected components of the vehicle, such as IoT sensors and engine. 

Software-Defined Vehicles vs. Connected Vehicles

A Software-Defined Vehicle is any car with extensive safety, convenience, and entertainment features provided and enabled via onboard software. This is typically achieved through integrating multiple software services and platforms connected via either APIs or middleware. Software-Defined Vehicles are often referred to interchangeably as Connected Vehicles.

The difference between Software-Defined Vehicles and Connected Vehicles is that Connected Vehicles are specifically intended to interact and interface with their surroundings—they’re essentially Software-Defined Vehicles built with IoT in mind. Otherwise, the two are indistinguishable from one another—Connected Cars represent the evolution of Software-Defined Cars.  

FAQ

What is a Connected Vehicle Platform?

A Connected Vehicle Platform is a solution that facilitates developing, deploying, and managing the software and services in connected vehicles. 

What role do Connected Vehicles play in the Internet of Things?

Connected Vehicles will be instrumental to safety and traffic management in smart cities. They are essentially advanced IoT devices. 

What’s the difference between a Software-Defined Vehicle and a Connected Vehicle?

The difference between Connected Vehicles and Software-Defined Vehicles is negligible—the two have become indistinguishable. However, one could argue that Connected Cars are the ‘next step’ for Software-Defined Cars. 

What are some examples of Connected Cars?

The best-known Connected Cars on the market are manufactured by Tesla. Other Connected Vehicle manufacturers include Polestar, Volvo, and the Volkswagen Group. 

The BlackBerry IVY platform leverages BlackBerry QNX, edge computing, and the cloud to support a future-proof digital ecosystem. It gives developers and automakers a secure, reliable way to share vehicle data, deliver new features and functionality, and fuel both present and future innovation. Backed by BlackBerry expertise, it’s compatible with most OS and cloud platforms, offering advanced personalization and access to our broad development community. 

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