SDVs and the Role of the Software TwinSDVs and the Role of the Software Twin


June 13, 2023



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SDVs and the Role of the Software Twin

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Let’s talk about space travel for a moment. Imagine you are manning the ground station and you’ve sent people or equipment out into that vast cosmic expanse. Safety and security are imperative and enormous investments have been made. You will want to know what’s going on out there, and as precisely as possible. This is why the twin was invented—to have a representation at home base to observe, simulate, and analyze what is happening.

The Concept

The concept of the digital twin was first suggested three decades ago and has been constantly gaining traction—not only in aerospace, but in other sectors, such as automotive, construction, urban planning, manufacturing, and even healthcare. 

What is the digital twin, after all? To define it in two sentences: 

  • It is the digital representation, via a communication channel, of an actual or intended real-world entity. 
  • This representation can serve purposes like simulation, monitoring, and further analytics for numerous use cases.

Use in Automotive

What does this help in the automotive sector? Take an example that echoes the space travel scenario from the beginning. In his own way, your grandfather, in his car to get a cup of coffee at the local gas station, might be as remote as in space. And not only is his safety just as important as an astronaut’s, there are far more old people out there than space travelers. Many of them could profit from improvements in driver assistance systems, for example.

And here the software twin can shine, for automotive lends itself as an excellent area of application because cars are complex systems with many components that interact and produce data. This data in turn can, using proper tools, be represented digitally. Software twins are already used to improve vehicle performance and enhance the efficiency of production. This use will only increase. The following are example categories of this representation and the benefits yielded:

  • Large fleets: Curtail long/expensive cycles of development and prototyping
  • Long-lived assets: Create new data-rich applications and features
  • Numerous data points: Improve safety and security

The Software Twin on the Road to Success 

Certain aspects have to be considered to really exhaust the potential of the software twin. 

While it could be said that for a software twin, more data points are always better, there are phenomena of noise and repetition to be dealt with. In fact, much data from a vehicle is highly repetitive. The engine temperature, for example, will not deviate most of the time. Given the fact that the cost of data at rest and in transit for modern automotive fleets, with millions of sensors on the road, can be prohibitive, only useful data should be captured and collected.

A related determination is what information categories are of interest. This is a two-way street. The specification of use cases renders certain data valuable, while on the other hand, the availability of data will make some use cases feasible in the first place.

The Software-Defined Vehicle and the Software Twin

One thing that follows from these considerations is that tools are needed that facilitate the collection of appropriate data. But Sibros goes a step further here because we consider it desirable to not only have a twin of the vehicle but of the software and its versions and states in it. 

Such a capability will become more and more crucial when we consider the ongoing development towards the software-defined vehicle, with ever-increasing numbers of hardware and volumes of software in it. This is why Sibros provides the Software Twin: a real-time, comprehensive cloud representation of the inventory of in-vehicle software. 

This means that from the time a vehicle is built until vehicle end of life, an accurate picture will be available of states and changes made. Sibros’ Deep Connected Platform acts as a configuration management tool, providing full context, software, and versioning.

Features, Use Cases, and Benefits

To this end, Sibros’ Deep Logger collects signals from every sensor in the vehicle, without requiring any additional logging hardware. Deep Logger supports different vehicle architectures, hardware, operating systems, and networks. Examples of Deep Logger’s features are:

  • Configurable logging that records what is desired, at the specified time and frequency
  • Selective logging with parameters defined by conditions, events, and transmission rates
  • Data filtering based on time, duration, log size, custom tags, signal names, and types

Sibros’ Deep Updater delivers seamless updates to every ECU for every vehicle model and software build configuration, with ample customization options. Examples of Deep Updater’s features are:

  • Deployment audit trail for all updates, changes, deployments, and rollouts
  • Management of software versions through custom software packages
  • OTA 360 view with deployment logs, software rollout status, and stats from every ECU

Additionally, Sibros’ Deep Connected Platform provides a number of capabilities for visualization, analysis, and diagnostics. Vehicles and fleets can be monitored in real-time, depending on requirements and settings.

Use cases in which Sibros’ Software Twin can assist are numerous. Example areas are:

  • Introducing true predictive maintenance
  • Developing the next vehicle generation with data on vehicle use in complex situations
  • Resizing and eliminating components and features (reductive design)
  • Simulating traffic for ADAS and traffic services/control
  • Testing/simulating new features and even software updates

The Prospects of Automotive and its Software Twins

The automotive future holds more comfort and safety, new features, and reduced maintenance costs. OEMs, dealerships, and drivers will receive additional insights into their vehicles, and even ​​vehicle end-of-life will bring added options, based on the actual state of the vehicle. 

Cars will, in a way, become part of a broad ecosystem of IoT. This in turn means rapid development, high software complexity (to be reduced with the appropriate tools), software as infrastructure, and short development cycles. And it will mean more demanding consumers and new mobility concepts as well. 

Software twins can support all such developments via closer observation, better simulation, and deeper insights. Properly defined data logging and updates will serve as crucial enablers. Talk to Sibros today to begin building your software twin.

Max Reinhold
Max Reinhold
Max Reinhold has been in the writing and technical communication space for more than 15 years. He spent the better part of his twenties disassembling motorcycle engines—sometimes he was even able to assemble them back again. Model airplanes make him feel nostalgic. He graduated from Humboldt University of Berlin.