IAA 2019: Continental presents high-performance platform for the vehicle cockpit of tomorrow


At the IAA 2019 in Frankfurt (12 to 22 September), Continental has unveiled the latest version of its Integrated Interior Platform (IIP). As a high-performance computer, this comprehensive solution for software and hardware provides the basis for interaction between humans and vehicles in the connected cockpit of tomorrow – and at the highest level of quality. In its cockpit demonstrator, the technology company showed how the IIP combines various displays, such as the instrument cluster and the centre console display, with Internet-based services to form a complete solution. The IIP is a milestone in the E/E architecture revolution, which is seeing in-car electronics move away from many individual control units to a few high-performance computers.

Continental uses virtualisation solutions for the IIP architecture that allow several operating systems with various security requirements to be operated simultaneously on a single computer. The operating systems, such as QNX, Integrity, Linux and Android Automotive, can come from both open-source and third-party providers. The required software is integrated and tested in the highly automated and agile Continental Software Factory. From its Agile Campus at the company’s Wetzlar location, Continental has also shortened development cycles by fundamentally changing processes and ensuring effective collaboration.

“The cockpit of tomorrow poses two major challenges for our development. Firstly, there is an ever-increasing separation of software and hardware, along with the numerous possibilities for various open-source software and thus also for new business models. Secondly, to implement processes that allow us to meet these new requirements rapidly, efficiently and with a high level of operational security proves to be challenging as well,” explains Dr Karsten Michels, head of Systems & Technology in Continental’s Interior division.

The IIP supports a wide range of products and is scalable using various hardware concepts. “To tackle the challenges of system integration, we are changing the culture at Continental to focus on agile working. We have accelerated this change with our Agile Campus at the Wetzlar location. This includes a high level of automation of continuous test routines and a combination of strict gating and transparent quality metrics. The focus of our development is on quality,” says Michels.

The IIP exhibit at the IAA will feature displays connected across the entire width of the cockpit under a glass surface, highlighting the number of functions that fully connected vehicles must be able to master at the same time. The digital driver display, for example, will show the view of the digital rear-view mirror in addition to traditional readouts. Moreover, the driver can use gestures to retrieve content such as high-resolution navigation maps from the passenger display. If the driver then switches to automated driving mode, the full display is shown, featuring all Internet-based services and apps that are otherwise only available on the passenger side. The IIP is capable of controlling multiple displays in the cockpit. To do so, the platform must be able to run both apps with a high automotive safety integrity level and those that are as open as possible (e.g. based on Android) from a wide variety of sources. The secure encapsulation of various operating systems through hypervisor technology or containers is therefore an integral part of the IIP. During manual driving, the passenger has the entire spectrum of familiar digital services available, including common office applications.

Caption: The Integrated Interior Platform is the basis for the human-machine interaction of the future: depending on the driving mode, it turns the cockpit into an information centre or a rolling living room with large displays (photo: Continental)

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