Point B welcomes the Director of Global Product and Solutions Marketing at NXP, Brian Carlson, to discuss how new vehicle architectures are changing the world. What changes is the automotive industry seeing? Is there one vehicle architecture to rule them all (domain vs zonal)? What are the implications of these shifts and what are silicon providers doing to support and address them?
Brian Carlson is responsible for global marketing of automotive processors and solutions at NXP Semiconductors. He focuses on enabling new innovations that can create new automotive industry business opportunities. He has over 30 years’ experience driving leading-edge, computing and communications products, with roles in product development, technology marketing, product management, and business development. He served as vice-chairman on the MIPI Alliance board of directors where he led the mobile charge into adjacent markets including automotive and IoT. Brian holds a Master’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University.
Steve Schwinke is Vice President of Customer Engagement at Sibros, working closely with OEMs and Tier One suppliers to accelerate their connected vehicle solutions. He is a pioneer in the industry having spent 22 years at General Motors as an original Executive member of the OnStar team designing their first 3-button system, developing and launching numerous industry-first connected vehicle products and services. He is a recognized expert in connected vehicle technology having served on the Executive Board of Directors for the Telecommunications Industry Association and has been awarded 34 patents involving telecommunications, telematics, and navigation. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master's of Science in Wireless Communication Systems from Santa Clara University.
Welcome back to another episode of Point B, a Sibrospodcast where we interview industry experts about the latest innovations andtrends in automotive technology and the connected vehicle industry.
Tune in to learn about topics ranging from the nextgeneration of electric vehicles to advances in connectivity and micro-mobility.
Welcome to our Point B podcast where we discuss the futureof mobility and transportation products and services. My name is SteveSchwinke, Vice President of Customer Engagement at Sibros. And today I haveBrian Carlson, Director of Global Product and Solutions Marketing at NXPSemiconductors. And today we're going to talk about the evolution, or really isit the revolution, of mobility products and their electrical architectures.
But let me first start by introducing Brian. At NXP, hehas the responsibility for global marketing of automotive processors andsolutions that can transform vehicles and create new business opportunities.And he also has 30 years of experience growing semiconductor software in systembusinesses and has been recognized with several industry awards and is widelypublished. Welcome, Brian.
Hey, great, Steve. Great to be here and talk to you aboutSDVs.
Let's start with the big shift that's taking place invehicle architectures in the automotive industry today. Can you kind of justsummarize what this shift looks like?
Yeah, definitely. We're seeing a big shift across, I mean,this is a global effort of OEMs around the world, and it's really driven by thecomplexity of vehicles today, which traditionally have been hardware-driven orhardware-defined with ECUs, or electronic control units.
And really what's happening is that is not scaling goingfurther, instead of adding a new box to add a new feature to a vehicle, it'smoving more towards a software-defined vehicle, which is based on new types ofarchitectures, whether there's domain or zonal or a combination of those. It'sreally about simplifying the vehicle architecture and enabling the future,which allows software to define it rather than boxes.
I mean, the big issue with boxes is with every box comeswires and cables, and what we're seeing is that these cable harnesses arebecoming very thick, two or three inches, even impacting the manufacturing ofvehicles, the reliability over time. It's just not a scalable future. So reallythat's what's happening. It's this big shift over into these new vehicle E/Earchitectures, whether it's domain, zonal or a hybrid of the two.
So you talked a little bit about wiring, but there's otherforces at hand, right?
Yeah, I mean, that's the first motivation where it allkind of started. And then there's been this parallel universe, I would say, thesoftware side of things where the world is becoming more dynamic. It's moresoftware-oriented.
And so on top of this, the industry wants to be able todeploy, much like in the mobile industry, to deploy new services over their updates,to be able to make that vehicle more dynamic improvement over time. And whatthat does is drive the need for a new approach instead of being a captivemicrocontroller within a box or an ECU that does one function, and that's allit does. It can't really be updated in many cases. The future's moving towardsthe software-defined world where easily I can add new capabilities. I could addnew features. I can improve the capabilities of my car, and that requires atotally new way of doing things. It requires new software, new hardware, newarchitecture, which we started talking about.
And really all of that has to happen at the same time. AndI like to compare it to the industry's going through brain surgery and heartsurgery at the same time, and it's massive. It has a lot of implications, butat the end of the day, it's about simplifying the wiring, as I talked about,but it's also about enabling this whole new software-defined world and theopportunities and new capabilities and services that that will bring to theindustry and to consumers.
So these changes, are they happening all at once? It goesback to this question of is this an evolution or a revolution?
I would say, overall, this is where the industry's moving.Now, where it may differ is OEM by OEM or car manufacturer because they do takea little bit of different approaches over time. Some may move quicker thanothers. Some may move directly into the zonal architecture, which is aboutputting functionality at the edges of the vehicle with a vehicle computer inthe center. While some may move more to domain architectures, which is aboutputting logical functions together in a consistent box or a domain controller.So it really differs between the OEMs. But it is a global phenomenon. And overtime, I think by 2030, they're all moving towards the zonal architectures forimplementation of software-defined vehicle. But I think there will be thisevolution as part of the overall revolution at the end of the day.
We see a lot of new entrants into the mobility space. Wesee the barriers to entry, especially around EVs, where the powertrainpropulsion systems are much more complex. Are they the ones leading the charge,or is it the traditional OEMs?
You bring a good point up because the new entrants, maybethe disruptors or the companies that are coming, I would say, more from a cleanslate, they don't have all the legacy. So definitely, I believe that that doesgive an advantage both in the mindset of how they approach it without having totry to factor in how do I still leverage some of my legacy approaches or legacyboxes within this new architecture.
But I think overall, whether it's the disruptors, the newstartups, whether it's from California, whether it's from China, we see thosehotspots of new innovations coming and that they can move faster becausethey're coming from that clean slate. I think we're still seeing the legacyOEMs worldwide moving pretty quickly themselves. So I think both of them aretaking advantage of the new processing and software capabilities and bringingthose together with these new architectures and software-defined vehicles. Butyou're right, disruptors, they don't have to deal with so much of the legacycapabilities or boxes.
Now, at the same time, as part of those legacy OEMs, theyhave to transition their workforce, how they work together, because typically,they've been organized by functions, whether I'm a powertrain person or I'm aninfotainment person or body. That is part of that challenge for moving from alegacy world, which is more by boxes and by those functions to this world whereit's all converging or consolidating functions in these types of vehiclecomputers or zones or domain controllers. So that is an additional challengefor the OEMs, but we do see them picking up and accepting that challenge andmoving very quickly and putting a lot of money into this transformation, reallya digital transformation of automotive.
So it's a shift, really, at the OEMs, but that's also ashift, let's say with the tier 1 suppliers. Are you seeing that some of thesetier 1 suppliers that provided those boxes before in the past now have to worktogether on a common platform? And how's that working out?
Yeah, it's really interesting. There's a lot of dynamics.I was just talking about kind of the impact to the OEM, but definitely from atier 1 perspective, the old model has been the OEM defines what they want, thetier 1s bid, and ultimately would provide a box that gets integrated by theOEM.
Well, that whole scenario has really changed where theOEMs are taking more control, especially in these architectures. The OEMs aretaking the lead in the architectures, and sometimes some help in consulting andworking some proof of concepts with the tier 1s. But the tier 1's role isdefinitely changing. And if you look at the tier 1s, they've been acquiringsoftware companies. They've been doing more overall looking at SDV and tryingto integrate some of the new technologies to stay ahead of the curve and tocontinue to provide that value.
But at the end of the day, the OEMs are really drivingthis. They're working directly with the silicon providers like NXP to drivewhere they want to go in the future with the silicon that they need.
And in that process, the tier 1s are reinventingthemselves to become more software savvy, to provide more capabilities in thesoftware area. And that really is important in the software-defined era becauseyou can imagine instead of providing a box, an ECU, you could provide a virtualECU, which is software, and software that is integrated within the overallvehicle computer or within a zone. And in that box, you may have multiple tier1s that are running on the same chip. And that's an area that we're excitedabout because we're providing new technology that enables multiple tier 1s orecosystem partners or the OEM themselves to actually run on the same chipwithin these more consolidated boxes that we see going forward.
Fascinating stuff. And I want to drill down deeper intowhat this means to the silicon providers like NXP. So what are some of theseshifts? What are the challenges that you face when providing the silicon?
This is why our new silicon is really designed forsoftware-defined vehicle. And what that means is, instead of the old world as Italked about, which is more just a microcontroller running one dedicatedfunction from one tier 1 or the OEM itself, it's really moved to multiple, or Icall multi-tenant. Think of it like an apartment complex, a multi-tenant whereit's one building, but they each have their own apartment within the building,and they have their own access and their own keys, and they can't just freelygo to the other tenants. And really, it's that concept that we have to do inthe new silicon for these software-defined vehicles that consolidate functionsfrom multiple companies.
There's two sides of that. There's the actual IP issuebecause IP is a concern. You don't want one company's software to be accessibleby a competitor, so there's this whole IP issue. So isolation and separation isreally, really critical within the chip.
The other thing is about execution, especially in thesemulti-tenant environments. They can't interfere with each other. So if one isoperating, doing its function, and the other one is doing its function, theycannot impact the execution or the determinism of the other one. And thatrequires hardware assistance to ensure quality of service and resourceallocation and isolation, true isolation. In our case on the S32Z and E, someof our processors we announced, it actually isolates from the processor to theperipherals to the memory and all the way out to the I/O pins. I like to saycore to I/O isolation.
And what's great about that is it brings back that oldmodel in a way that the tier 1 or the person developing that ECU is withintheir own environment, and they can't impact others, but now it's actually on asingle chip.
Interesting on the IP protection. What about security?
Definitely, we talked about isolation more from afunctional and IP point of view, but security is fundamental. And security'snot something that you can just add later. Security has to be baked in. It hasto be part of the whole process, and that starts with the chip itself. And sowe've gone through that process with our development of our silicon to gothrough the ISO 21434 certification on how we do our security. But if you lookat the whole automobile and all the way to the cloud, it has to have end-to-endsecurity because security's only good as its weakest link.
There's been a big, I would say, a change in security andautomotive, especially since the 2015 or so types of hacks that exposed thevulnerabilities of traditional automotive silicon. And since then, there's beena lot of emphasis put on moving to more secure cryptography and authentication,leveraging asymmetric cryptography and public key infrastructure. I mean,that's used in banking and other transactions today that are secure. So we arebringing that technology in, and especially from NXP's perspective, we're inbank cards, smart cards, and e-passports. So we brought that technology intothe device to ensure that, within the device, the security services are therefor all of those tenants that are in the chip, and they have full access to allthe cryptography and authentication and can be used to communicate with thecloud and to provide secure services within it.
We saw a lot with secure gateways, you're right, about sixor seven years ago, starting to come into, I'll call it the traditionalarchitectures that OEMs are running. And a lot of them today are still runningthese secure gateways, running the S32G. Will that continue, that approach tosecurity, is to make sure that there's a little bit of isolation between, I'llsay the connected side and the core part of the vehicle?
Yeah, definitely. It's been interesting, that wholejourney from, I would say we were doing gateways 15, 20 years ago, and they'revery basic. And the whole thing about a gateway is how do I move data from onepart of the vehicle, which may be CAN to another part of vehicle that's usingLIN or Ethernet, and how do I do that securely so that that data is securethrough the whole path within the vehicle? And now with these connectedvehicles, how do I make sure that the data is secure all the way to the cloud?
Now, what we've seen is an actual evolution because thoseare fairly simple types of devices with a microcontroller. As we introduced theS32G, which those gateways became more service-oriented gateways with morecomplete security and the ability to run services. It's almost like theprecursor to this whole SDV. These service-oriented gateways are becoming moreand more performance-oriented. We just announced the S32G3, which is a biguplift, about two and a half times the performance and memory and networking.
And so what's happening is this service-oriented gatewayis now evolving into a vehicle computer. So you may hear that, central vehiclecomputer. It basically is the brain of the vehicle, which is independent fromthe infotainment and from the ADAS functionality. Typically, it's the master ofcontrolling everything in the vehicle. And that's really where we see thishappening is that security and functionality of gateway and then addingservices and more consolidation. That vehicle computer now becomes the centralplace where all of this is located, and really, it controls what a vehicle is.
Brian, I want to thank you for joining us on Point B. Ithink we could keep talking for a few more hours on this subject, but we'll keep it here. And we'll look forward to having you back on our next episode.
Great speaking to you, and definitely this is a topic that we could talk to for hours. So thanks for the opportunity to be on your podcast.
Thank you for tuning in to Point B. Join us next time for more auto tech innovations and trends.
Point B is brought to you by Sibros.