Cost Effective Updating of Software in Cars From IVIs, TCUs and Domain Controllers to the Entire Vehicle White Paper

 
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Cost Effective Updating of Software in Cars From IVIs, TCUs and Domain Controllers to the Entire Vehicle White Paper
Cost Effective Updating of Software in Cars
From IVIs, TCUs and Domain Controllers to the
Entire Vehicle

White Paper

Published February 2015
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    Table of Contents

    1   Introduction....................................................................................................................... 4
    2   Warranty Claims and Recalls .............................................................................................. 4
    3   Technology Considerations to Cut Costs.............................................................................. 5
    4   Getting the Smallest Update File Possible – Delta vs. Compression ...................................... 7
    5   Real-life Delta vs. Compression Test ................................................................................... 7
    6   Delta vs. Delta.................................................................................................................... 8
    7   Conclusion and What’s Next? ............................................................................................. 9

© 2015 Redbend                                                       [3 of 9]                                                      Confidential
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1       Introduction
        The dramatic increase in the amount of software in cars is creating a sea change in the automotive
        industry that will bring more connectivity to the driver’s finger tips and offer new ways for OEMs
        and Tier 1s to increase user satisfaction, while at the same time saving money.
        As we all know, time equals money. This is especially true in the automotive industry where much
        of success criteria are measured in financial terms. Two cost-structures in the automotive market
        that are interesting to explore are the financials around warranty claims and recalls and how OTA
        software updates can minimize these costs. Today, a software update is used mainly for in-vehicle
        infotainment systems (IVIs) and map content. Moving forward, with the advancements being
        made in automotive software management, OEMs will soon be able to update all models of a
        vehicle in its entirety – from bumper to bumper – with one reliable and efficient software update
        campaign. The efficient management of this software allows OEMs to quickly respond to recall
        problems and decrease overall warranty costs.

2       Warranty Claims and Recalls
        Warranty claims and related costs can impact OEM margins and the overall bottom line. Stout
        Risius Ross (SRR), Inc., a premier global advisory firm, analyzed the impact of the warranty claims
        on the OEM earnings based on quarterly reports.

        The earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for OEMs are
        approximately 10 percent, with warranty claims making up almost 2 percent of that – costing
        OEMs a significant amount of money. This led SRR to conclude that “Warranty claims represent a
        significant component of OEM cost structures and can be significant in relation to vehicle
        margins.” This depends of course on the number of cars that are affected by a warranty.

        The second major financial burden on the automotive ecosystem is recalls. The National Highway
        Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) database includes information about recalls from all of
        the OEMs in the U.S. 2014 showed a record increase in the number of cars affected by recalls with
        a whopping 56 million.

© 2015 Redbend                                      [4 of 9]                                     Confidential
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                                    Cars effected by recalls (in millions)
                          60

                          50

                          40

                          30

                          20

                          10

                           0
                               2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

        There are many reasons for the increase in recalls. The majority of recalls are related to the
        complexity of new cars, using one platform for many models and the fact that a single Tier 1
        provider can supply the same defective product to many OEMs – like in the case of airbags.
        Furthermore, when investigating the root cause of the problems, analysts estimate that about 50
        percent of recalls are associated with the growing amount of software in cars.
        Relating back to warranty costs – minimizing the amount of recalls can also minimize the warranty
        payouts. So, for the OEM, minimizing recalls saves money both with the recall itself and with
        associated warranty costs.

3       Technology Considerations to Cut Costs
        The potential to save money associated with recalls is much easier to realize if the recall issue is
        based in software and not hardware. A software fix can be delivered in one of two ways. The most
        common way is for the consumer to bring the car to the dealer for an update. The second way is to
        perform the update over the air while the car sits in the driveway, parking lot or wherever it may
        be.
        There are saving potentials with both options. To save money at the dealer, the time it takes to do
        the update needs to be minimized. Currently the OEM pays the dealer in increments of six to 10
        minutes for how long the car is in the service bay including time for set-up and post-update
        testing. Alternatively, a pure over-the-air update has greater savings potential for the OEM
        because the cost to the dealer is taken out of the equation. Furthermore, with an OTA update, the
        user experience is greatly heightened because the trip to the dealer and the wait time for the
        update are eliminated.
        If the update is being done at the dealer, there are still ways OEMs can leverage software
        management solutions to cut costs. One factor to consider is the duration of the re-flash process.
        This process consists of two main tasks: downloading the new software version from the re-flash
        tool to the ECU, IVI, TCU or domain controller, and performing the re-flash activity in the memory.
        Both tasks are heavily influenced by the size of the update file. It is clear that the smaller the new
        software version file, the shorter the update time and less money the OEM pays the dealer.
        The need for the smallest file possible becomes even more crucial realizing that currently the
        majority of the ECUs, and other modules in the car, are connected via a CAN bus, a 20-year-old,
        field-proven and trusted technology that exists today in every car. Although trusted, this standard
        comes with sluggish data rates when the bus is loaded. Below is a table provided by Vector that
        summarizes bus rates.

© 2015 Redbend                                       [5 of 9]                                     Confidential
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        The potential to save money associated with recalls is much easier to realize if the recall issue is
        based in software and not hardware. A software fix can be delivered in one of two ways. The most
        common way is for the consumer to bring the car to the dealer for an update. The second way is to
        perform the update over the air while the car sits in the driveway, parking lot or wherever it may
        be.

        There are saving potentials with both options. To save money at the dealer, the time it takes to do
        the update needs to be minimized. Currently the OEM pays the dealer in increments of six to 10
        minutes for how long the car is in the service bay including time for set-up and post-update
        testing. Alternatively, a pure over-the-air update has greater savings potential for the OEM
        because the cost to the dealer is taken out of the equation. Furthermore, with an OTA update, the
        user experience is greatly heightened because the trip to the dealer and the wait time for the
        update are eliminated.

        If the update is being done at the dealer, there are still ways OEMs can leverage software
        management solutions to cut costs. One factor to consider is the duration of the re-flash process.
        This process consists of two main tasks: downloading the new software version from the re-flash
        tool to the ECU, IVI, TCU or domain controller, and performing the re-flash activity in the memory.
        Both tasks are heavily influenced by the size of the update file. It is clear that the smaller the new
        software version file, the shorter the update time and less money the OEM pays the dealer.

        The need for the smallest file possible becomes even more crucial realizing that currently the
        majority of the ECUs, and other modules in the car, are connected via a CAN bus, a 20-year-old,
        field-proven and trusted technology that exists today in every car. Although trusted, this standard
        comes with sluggish data rates when the bus is loaded. Below is a table provided by Vector that
        summarizes bus rates.

        When sending a large file over the CAN bus in order to re-flash an ECU, TCU or other module, it
        takes several minutes to arrive at the module before the re-flash process begins.

© 2015 Redbend                                       [6 of 9]                                     Confidential
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4       Getting the Smallest Update File Possible –
        Delta vs. Compression
        There are several methods to reduce the update file size, but the two most notable are
        compression and delta (differential) updates. Compression technology eliminates redundant or
        unnecessary bytes. Delta technology only sends code that is different between the original version
        and the new version. With both technologies the goal is to reduce the number of bytes that are
        being delivered to the module, therefore reducing the time for the update and the cost to the
        OEM.

5       Real-life Delta vs. Compression Test
        Vector, the leading embedded company, worked with Redbend on a proof-of-concept (POC)
        testing the efficiency of the delta technology. Vector chose an NXP chipset, which is common in
        ECUs – such as the powertrain – and connected it to vFlash via CAN bus. The vFlash functions as
        the off-board tester for managing the re-flash process. Vector ran an ECU re-flash three times –
        one with a software full image, one with an L277-compressed image and the third using delta
        technology combined with Vector’s bootloader.

        The efficiency of the delta technology was much greater than the compression technology.
        Obviously, in the full image test, the file size did not change and stayed at 4.1MB. Using
        compression, the file went from 4.1MB to 2.5MB. Using delta technology, the file went down from
        4.1MB 128KB.
        The difference in total programming time was also considered. The full download took 215
        seconds to program. Compression combined with pipeline – a way to flash and download at the
        same time – took 124 seconds. And, using delta technology, the programming time was only 63
        seconds.
        Further evidence that supports the efficiency of delta technology comes from Dr. Ralf Schmidgall,
        who wrote a thesis called “Automotive embedded systems software reprogramming.” In it, he
        analyzed the methods of reducing the size of the version when doing software updates. In the
        below table Dr. Schmidgall summarized the results of a theoretical case study.

© 2015 Redbend                                     [7 of 9]                                    Confidential
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        It is obvious that the delta technology results in a much smaller file than any method of
        compression, and the impact on the update time is dramatic. Even when the speed (0.1 sec Versus
        4127 sec) of the CAN bus is increased to 1000Kbit/sec, advantages of delta technology are clear.
        In his summary Dr. Schmidgall wrote: “Differential file update provides the best theoretical results
        of all researched approaches. If the increase of ECU software sizes continues in future, this
        approach might be the only sustainable one to solve the problem of increasing reprogramming
        times.”

6       Delta vs. Delta
        Now that the overwhelming benefits of delta technology have been demonstrated, the next step is
        to compare available delta solutions.
        Several leading OEMs are offering homegrown over-the-air, delta technology-based updates direct
        to consumers. One OEM that uses an open-source based delta solution did an internal test of its
        own solution versus Redbend’s Smart Delta technology. As noted earlier, the size of the update is
        important to minimize the cost of delivery, and in this case, the OEM is paying for the bandwidth
        needed to deliver the update, which puts great emphasis on the desire to send the smallest
        update file possible, minimizing the OEM’s OPEX.
        After comparing the OEM’s homegrown delta technology and Redbend’s Smart Delta technology,
        the Redbend solution delivered a delta ten times smaller than the open source solution. Since the
        completion of this test, the OEM has replaced its homegrown solution with Redbend’s Smart Delta
        technology.
        For future OTA update project planning, the following business case may prove useful. It was built
        with an OEM, and the following assumptions were made:
        •     The OEM:
                     Produces approximately 1 million cars per year.
                     On average, conducts 4 million software updates per year. Updates take 30 minutes.
        •     The Dealer:
                     Charges $100 per hour.
                     Measures time in 6-minute increments.
                     Can make a conservative estimate that Redbend’s delta update will reduce update
                      time by 50 percent.
                     Should note the number of updates required is increasing five percent per year due
                      to more recalls, and

© 2015 Redbend                                      [8 of 9]                                    Confidential
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                     An average update time is increasing five percent per year due to the increasing
                      amount of software.

7       Conclusion and What’s Next?
        Delta technology is a proven, safe, and cost-effective method for car manufacturers to manage the
        car software evolution, and it’s much better than any compression method or other delta
        technologies such as open source solutions. Redbend’s Smart Delta technology provides the best
        results with up to 95 percent reduction in the file size, together with easy integration and without
        interfering with the development process.
        Now that the superiority of delta technology has been demonstrated, it is important to look into
        the future to see where this will take us. As mentioned previously in this paper, today mostly IVIs
        and maps are being updated. It is expected that the cars coming off the production line in 2018
        will have a much more comprehensive software management architect, and all software code on
        all of the modules in a vehicle will be able to be updated.
        The expectation is that automotive OEMs will soon be updating all models of a vehicle in entirety
        with one reliable and efficient software update campaign. As software becomes an even more
        crucial element of automobiles, so does the ability to model, view and manage all of the software
        in the car.
        For the first time, all the components in vehicles needing an update, including those with
        infotainment systems (IVI), electronic control units (ECUs) and telematics control units (TCUs)
        running dissimilar OSs, with different levels of resources, from different suppliers and connected
        via different network types (WiFi, cellular, USB, ODB2 and in-vehicle busses), can be updated with
        one campaign.

© 2015 Redbend                                      [9 of 9]                                    Confidential
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