Bosch takes Open Kernel Labs into the center stack

March 30, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Bosch Car Multimedia has signed an agreement with Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs) to license its virtualization software for prototyping and development of in-vehicle infotainment systems.

Future car generations will increasingly resemble huge smart phones with a set of wheels: Equipped with powerful infotainment computers running a variety of apps and always connected to internet and data clouds, the vehicles will face similar threads as today's smartphones do. Highly secure virtualized software environments will become an indispensible ingredient of in-car infotainment landscapes. In order to secure the access to the adequate software technology, Bosch Car Multimedia has contracted Open Kernel Labs to provide its virtualization technology.

Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs) is already in widespread use in the smartphone industry. According to Marti Konstant, VP Marketing for OK Labs, currently more than 1.5 billion handsets run the company's virtualization software, in particular the OKL4 Microvisor. 

Building on OKL4 allows tier-1 automotive suppliers such as Bosch to incorporate up-to-date consumer technologies into the IVI user experience while preserving robustness of core capabilities like navigation and driver assistance. By using OKL4, tier-1 suppliers can consolidate IVI and “instant on” functionality (such as CAN and MOST networking) into a single host processing unit while continuing to meet strict requirements for rapid startup and real-time behavior. 

“Building IVI systems with OKL4 can benefit the Bosch technology portfolio with strong separation of consumer and core automotive subsystems on one application processor. It lets manufacturers build open application environments without comprising reliability,” commented Dr. Andree Zahir, Vice President Automotive Navigation and Infotainment Systems, Bosch Car Multimedia. 

OKL4 offers various features that meet the specific demand of the automotive industry, and in particular the needs of infotainment system designer, said Konstant. These features include the ability to generate dedicated virtual machines which isolate core automotive functions from application environments; support for "staged boot" and independent reboot which enables automotive software to boot up faster and to create instant-on systems; and hosting of multiple operating systems. For instance, a system running such a virtualizer software can support the coming de-facto standard for IVI environments,