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Smart Connections + Centralized Storage for In-Vehicle Infotainment: Part II

By Michael Burk - 2020-12-14

In preparation for a future of vehicles with advanced driver-assisted systems (ADAS) and self-driving capability, automotive technology developments are encouraging drivers to become passengers. Delivering how we most effectively use our time in those pilotless vehicles will be the future role of in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), which has already been embellished with many “enriched cabin” or “connected cockpit” features beyond video on demand.

In my first installment IVI blog, “Fast Memory Lets Your Interactive Cockpit Travel With You,” I covered how mobile personas in a world of mobility-as-a-service vehicles can provide personalized content for everyone in the cabin that integrates well with smartphones and other mobile devices. But with all this additional functionality comes an expanded hardware architecture and the hunger for more compute power, combined with vastly expanded display requirements.

I pointed out last time that Micron system-on-chip (SoC) processors and new PCIe-based flash storage with low-latency, high-performance NVMe™ automotive-quality solid-state drives (SSDs) enable an interactive cockpit domain controller approach. Now, I’ll talk about how IVI has become a core architecture around which developers are gathering other intelligent automotive technologies and benefiting from the shared-use model.

Connecting Automotive Architectures Increases Fun and Profit

Early IVI designs had the instrument cluster and infotainment display functioning in a silo, leading to frustrated consumers and low brand loyalty. Where we’re headed is creating your vehicle as a big digital platform, pushing content from one connected device to another — with no lags, no skips — while adhering to security regulations.

“Consistently strong consumer demand continues to make connectivity features very important indeed. OEMs must therefore strive to offer the latest innovations in this area," said the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility whose 2018 global survey found that 40% of respondents are willing to change car brands for better connectivity services.

Expanded connectivity is also driven by the need to reduce the number of engine control unit (ECUs) in the vehicle and to organize functions into logical blocks. Developers hope to reduce cost and complexity, as well as set the stage for future interoperability among major vehicle functional subsystems.

A well-integrated solution will share data among all the subsystems and do it with minimal latency. Artificial intelligence (AI) software in an automotive system typically demands heavy data use. Each of the profiles stored on the drive — like personal identity, whitelist/blacklist security information and more — can demand fast yet secure storage. Overall storage needs in the vehicle system are already approaching 1TB. This includes profiles for users, vehicle identity/status and local content storage, plus it contains subsystem data needs like these:

  • Vision systems
  • Multisource connected entertainments
  • Audio-capture systems
  • AI accelerator
  • Connectivity gateway
  • Security infrastructure

Centralized Storage Enables Data Sharing

Centralized storage can create an interactive and personalized user experience by enabling data sharing among functional systems. An automotive-grade SSD offers high speeds, functional data isolation, cryptographic data protection, secure remote reprovisioning, and a price-per-density more akin to isolated storage devices such as universal flash storage (UFS). SSDs, which can reduce design redundancy, are delivered in small form factor, ball grid array (BGA) packages that require little printed circuit board real estate.

Data infrastructure encompassing centralized storage with NVMe/PCIe can enable key system requirements of automotive connectivity:

  • Eliminate system redundancies to optimize cost.
  • Improve data transfer speed.
  • Share data among multiple subsystems on one SoC or multiple dissimilar SoCs.
  • Isolate processes to ensure design safety and security goals.
  • Encrypt sensitive data where applicable.
  • Securely update or remotely exchange vehicle profiles and stored data, especially over-the-air (OTA) updates (Figure 1).


Figure 1: Over-the-Air Software Updates for Individual Vehicle Attributes

Attributes regarding the individual vehicle can be stored on the vehicle to enable secure OTA update strategies. With single-root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) technology, the system’s PCIe interface can be subdivided into multiple virtual machines running on the SoC environment so that they are isolated from one another and each tied to unique virtual functions on the storage device. SR-IOV also establishes direct connection between stored data and the active process in runtime, so there is no need for a system scheduler or hypervisor.

Beginning in 2023, the centralized storage and automotive-grade SSDs discussed here will be applied to next-generation architectures in IVI, automated driving, and central compute architectures at key OEMs and Micron’s tier-1 partners.

Read the white paper: “The Role of Centralized Storage in the Emerging Interactive Cockpit

Check out my previous series on IVI: The Evolution of In-Vehicle Entertainment Systems: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four 

For More Information

Follow the latest Micron automotive technology developments at www.micron.com/automotive or through our LinkedIn and @MicronTech Twitter.

Michael Leventhal

Michael Burk

As principal architect for IVI Systems within Micron’s Automotive business and a key contributor to the early automotive aftermarket, Michael Burk draws from 50 years of automotive industry experience. Prior to Micron, he was chief engineer of Advanced Development for Panasonic Automotive and director of Audio System Engineering for Harman.