ACTIA’s telematics offering for commercial and industrial vehicles is based on particularly high-performance telematics gateways. These cross-sectoral, scalable gateways provide high levels of connectivity. They are developed and include an open software ecosystem mainly using automotive-specific Linux. ACTIA’s gateways also address dependability and cybersecurity issues.
Our experts unveil what’s behind ACTIA’s telematics gateways in this joint interview with Renaud HANUS, Chief Technical Officer of the ACTIA Group and Christian SAHLEN, Managing Director of ACTIA Nordic AB.
How would you define ACTIA’s range of telematics gateways?
“Telematics offers many challenges, advanced and costly to develop and maintain, which makes it difficult for some players to support “small series” customers.
Flexibility and time to market is crucial and each market segment has its own specific requirements.
Based on this we decided to launch a “cross segment” strategy when we developed our next generation Connectivity platform.
At the time we had 18 RFQ’s from a variety of customers e.g. cars, trucks, off highway vehicles, super cars and equipment. We challenged ourselves to fit all these different requirements into one and the same platform which resulted in a product family named ACU6.
The key to success was clearly identified, minimize time and cost for adaptation to customer requirements, maintenance and certification. Reuse as much technology as possible between the different market segments. The result is a fully flexible solution based on the latest technology that offers extremely short time to market at low investment in cost and resource.”
“The ACTIA telematics line specifically designed for commercial and industrial vehicles ranges from simple, ruggedized trackers to the most comprehensive solutions supporting all radio communication media and onboard networks. Our telematics products include powerful and scalable SoCs (Systems on a Chip) offering computing power that is capable of operating with different communication networks with high data rates and of hosting multiple applications (manufacturers, operators, navigation, etc.).”
What makes the “Premium” range so special?
“The Premium range targets super cars, premium cars, heavy trucks, buses, off highway vehicles and equipment. To manage all these customer segments with one and the same design our ACU6 platform is available with a dual board solution were all communication related functions are put on one board (means only one certification for all customers) and all customer specifics like e.g. I/O’s are put on a daughter board. This dual board concept offers amazing flexibility and extremely fast customer sampling. Combined with scalability on component level for example the CPU (SoC) is available in single, dual and quad core adding further flexibility to the platform than now offers more possibilities than limitations.”
“Our telematics Premium solutions include the latest generations of multi-core processors and wireless standards. The different performances available make it possible to benefit from high-speed as well as low-latency, real-time wireless communication.
The embedded power allows heterogeneous applications to run simultaneously while addressing dependability and cybersecurity challenges.
ACTIA is fostering partnerships with the major players in the field to virtualize the hardware and partition applications running on the platform, including the use of hypervisors.”
How does ACTIA manage software issues and cybersecurity?
“When designing a Telematics system the majority of NRE cost (80%) is software, due to this we made a great effort to systemize a software architecture that could fit all customer segments and adopt to any specific requirement without adding maintenance and cost burden on the platform. With this innovative mind set we created a true cross segment platform with maximized flexibility at minimized cost. As Telematic Control Units (TCU) are also used for functional safety applications such like for example self-driving vehicles.
Security and safety are vital, in our strategic platform we developed a state of the art solution in order to bring the highest level of security to all our customers independent of what vehicle or machine the system is targeted for.”
In most cases, our solutions use Linux, one of the most common operating systems in the world. This Open Source technology has the advantage of providing access to a host of advanced features. Linux has a large community of developers and applications, with the benefit of reducing development costs.
ACTIA is a SILVER member of the Linux Foundation. The Group actively participates in the Open Source Automotive Grade Linux initiative specially designed for vehicles. As such, the Group is able to offer this technology on different telematics products in its range.
…and what about product safety?
The Group’s multi-disciplinary teams enhance the cybersecurity protection mechanisms with each new generation. ACTIA’s product cybersecurity is based on international collaborative work. This pooling of skills enables us to perform a detailed analysis and constantly anticipate the risks, in order to guarantee the highest level of security throughout the product life cycle. ACTIA’s experts are also involved in drafting standards, including ISO 21434. This is why ACTIA is able to incorporate the requirements set out in these texts into the company’s processes as they are developed and therefore stay one step ahead.
Dependability refers to the level of confidence that can be associated with a system, and is considered to be the “science of faults and failures.” These standards have arrived on one of the ACTIA Group’s long-standing markets, in the fields of special vehicles, in the form of the SIL standards. ACTIA is a pioneer in this market and has been working according to the dependability constraints associated with its products for more than 30 years.”
Can you please describe the level of connectivity of ACTIA’s gateways?
“ACTIA’s gateways cover a wide range of radio communication standards. ACTIA is working on 5G in particular, which could hail a breakthrough in technological performance aiming for ultra-reliable, very low-latency communications, as well as the high speed required for connected and autonomous vehicles.
On the strength of the partnerships developed with the main semiconductor players, ACTIA’s gateways are equipped with high-performance communication chips that provide connectivity for three purposes:
- • IoT: a low-speed, low-cost solution,
- • LTE Advanced: very high-speed communication and soon 5G,
- • V2X: low-latency vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure communication solutions.
C-V2X communication technology is an important step along the road to 5G, towards connected and autonomous véhicles and enhanced road safety. ”
What is the key element to keep our leading position on the market?
“I can summarize this in only one word Innovation. In order to stay ahead of our competitors and to continue being an interesting supplier, innovation is mandatory. Our advanced engineering team is making sure that we use the latest technology in our designs but this will not be enough to keep our leading position on the market. We have established several interesting tech partnerships with other innovative companies and implemented brand new features on our platform.
For examples :
- • machine learning software to predict system behaviour and mechanical wear,
- • micro edge cloud to simplify cloud connectivity and to secure GPDR fulfilment,
- • virtual reality function for assembly, service and maintenance,
- • integration of OURA ring as key to access a vehicle or a machine.
These are just some examples of innovations we are preparing to bring in to our brand new product family.”