Alkalee is rethinking how automotive electrical and electronic (E/E) architectures are designed, making in-vehicle technology more flexible so that new services can be added throughout the product lifecycle.
When it comes to the digital revolution, the automotive industry is on the front lines. In a context where innovation and time to market are key differentiators, car manufacturers are struggling to integrate the new features consumers expect. Today’s overcrowded automotive chassis already house a hundred or so computers and control units, each with its own separate function. As new features are added, the E/E architecture becomes more complex, and the design cycle takes longer.
The challenge is how to make cars more autonomous and connected and, in the process, continue to improve the driver experience. CEA-List startup Alkalee, founded in 2020, is tackling this issue head-on with a groundbreaking centralized automotive electronic architecture design solution.
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Alkalee’s solution is a novel one: centralized, modular architectures that make it easy to add new on-board services at any point in the product lifecycle. Designers can add software units to improve the vehicle’s existing features, ultimately making the vehicle easier to upgrade and safer to operate.
Alkalee’s technology was developed by CEA-List and Renault over the course of a three-year joint R&D project called FACE, which ran from 2016 to 2019.
While the modular and scalable nature of the architecture is a departure from conventional vehicle E/E design, the innovation doesn’t stop there. During the design phase the solution also enables the proof of the operating safety of the target system using mathematical methods.
This is made possible by two core software tools.
Euphilia models the different vehicle functions and the interactions between them, like machine vision systems and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The idea is to produce an integrated and coherent model of the entire vehicle’s target E/E architecture and how it will work.
Mathematical equations are applied, providing formal validation of the model’s construction and, therefore, the target architecture.
Euphilia can thus be used to make sure that the on-board technologies are effective and compliant, performing quick checks at each stage of integration.
CEA-List’s software systems integration experts developed Euphilia, which is built on the institute’s Papyrus model-driven systems engineering platform distributed by the Eclipse Foundation.
Receef is the embedded software that controls execution of system functions. It manages interactions between the different components of the E/E architecture, factoring in real-time and security considerations. And, because it is independent from the hardware and software environments, it gives car manufacturers the freedom to choose the best platform for their needs. CEA-List’s critical software and high-performance computing expertise played a major role in the development of Receef.
Alkalee’s novel approach to automotive E/E design drastically reduces the complexity created by having a large number of control units and computers on board. It also offers the added benefit of formally validating that an architecture is safe and reliable during the design phase.
These advantages position Alkalee to offer car manufacturers:
Alkalee is primarily addressing the automotive industry. However, the startup’s innovation could very well be of interest to the shipbuilding, avionics, and other industries facing similar challenges and, more broadly, to the defense and industrial sectors.
We are bringing the automotive industry the agility and flexibility it needed to integrate innovations faster.