Siemens Wants Electric Vehicles To Be “Rolling Computers”


Siemens to Equip StreetScooter Electric Vehicle with Innovative Electronics and Software

Siemens to Equip StreetScooter Electric Vehicle with Innovative Electronics and Software

Started in 2012, project RACE, which stands for Robust and Reliant Automotive Computing Environment for Future eCars, aims to substantially simplify cars’ increasingly complex electronics architecture.

“Today a mid-range vehicle may contain over 70 different control systems that are all networked with one another. Added to this are thousands of sub-functions that run on these control systems and exchange data. In the RACE project, by contrast, cars are controlled by a centralized computing architecture. The approach is similar to the fly-by-wire systems and other technologies used in today’s airplanes. Such a uniform software architecture would enable developers to create new functions quickly and easily. In addition, software functions could be pushed out to vehicles in the same way that they are to smart phones. The functions would range from infotainment software all the way to critical safety functions such as driver assistance systems. RACE also makes autonomous driving much simpler. In addition, it enables manufacturers of especially small-batch vehicles to fulfill customer wishes quickly and flexibly.”

The RACE (Robust and Reliant Automotive Computing Environment for Future eCars)

The RACE (Robust and Reliant Automotive Computing Environment for Future eCars)

Siemens, as one of the participants in the RACE project, announced that it will use StreetScooter electric car as the donor for this experiment. The project is scheduled for an end in 6 months, so there’s not much time left for a brain transplant.

The key thing is that the new system will be similar to home PCs with “plug-and-play” uploads of software updates.

“For the first time ever, the architecture will make it possible to retrofit functions such as electrical brakes and systems such as lane-keeping assistants using a plug-and-play process like on home PCs. The two companies plan to incorporate the RACE architecture into an electric delivery vehicle by December 2014. The work will be conducted at Siemens’ research center in Munich, Germany. The partnership’s aim is to test the new technology in practice for the first time.”

Prof. Armin Schnettler, who manages the project at Siemens central research department Corporate Technology, stated:

“We think that RACE has huge potential and that it could revolutionize car design in the future. We expect standardized hardware and flexible apps to be used in the future. This will greatly reduce development times while at the same time increasing customization — not only in the automotive industry but also elsewhere.”

Prof. Achim Kampker, Managing Director of StreetScooter remarked:

“We want to be able to integrate updates and individualize pioneering developments for our customers. Our modular and adaptable concept makes us the ideal platform for the RACE technology.”

Beside Siemens, participants in this €20 million project include: AVL Software and Functions GmbH, fortiss GmbH, the Fraunhofer Society, TRW Automotive, RWTH Aachen, TU Munich, and the University of Stuttgart.

Category: General


8 responses to "Siemens Wants Electric Vehicles To Be “Rolling Computers”"
  1. Spec9 says:

    Cars have been “rolling computers” for more than a decade now. Actually, they are rolling computer networks with multiple computers.

    1. Mikael says:

      What’s really lacking is the communication between cars.

      It wouldn’t be hard to get some information about accidents a few cars ahead (or rather that the cars are stopping or slowing down on a spot where they shouldn’t normally).
      Or a car losing grip telling other cars that the friction is low. Or telling that a big animal just crossed the road (which often mean that a few more will follow, trying to cross the road).

      1. TomArt says:

        Now those things are useful information!

  2. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

    Nothing new here. Just a big company trying to enter a new market for them.

  3. TomArt says:

    Doesn’t Tesla already do this? Everything they describe is already done by Tesla – automatic updates pushed over-the-air like with cell phones – adding capabilities by software upgrades – seems to me they are substantially behind the times…

    1. TomArt says:

      I mean, the Model S has been described as a big iPad strapped to a massive battery pack on four wheels. It is already a “rolling computer,” as far as I know.

      Anybody not notice this, or am I missing something?

  4. Roger says:

    This seems as the normal
    progression of things in
    the auto world; Too many
    can busses. While they’re
    at it, they’ll tighten
    the screws on anyone hacking
    into it.

    It would have been real
    news to hear someone is
    interfacing Android or Any
    type of open source architecture.

  5. Rob says:

    Siemens are just trying to get ‘their’ technology to be adopted for the base of all electric cars.
    That’s just good business sense!
    Having owned a computer now for about twentyfive years, it does worry me that the future may be driving around in a very much computer controlled car. My computer is routinely infected by god knows what, my fleabay account has been hacked into twice. It would be a shame if the cars of the future could be stolen, or worse, ‘infected’ over the little bastards via ‘net’ when updating the car…
    I watched a program on tv last year about how recent BMW cars could be stolen by people plugging into the onboard diagnostic system and reprogramming a blank key!
    Some poor guy who had cctv got up one morning, went out to his car that wasn’t there, went back into the house to watch the footage of people taking his car from of the drive without damaging it!
    Sometime technology can be a right pain in the arse!