Cars of the past were merely moving machines; Complex devices were put together to move, stand, and turn. But today's cars are moving electronic equipment. Modern cars have most of their functions handled by software. Furthermore, the automaker is even creating new value by integrating functions that were previously controlled.
Tunnel-connected automatic control housed by several vehicles of Hyundai Motor Group is a good example. This system closes the windows and switches the air conditioning system to circulation mode when entering a place with poor air quality, such as a tunnel. Although the operating process is simple, it requires demanding skills; Integrated control must be achieved by receiving information from each device, including navigation, GPS, windows, and air conditioners.
This makes a vehicle software platform possible. Compared to the computer field, the vehicle SW platform would be similar to an ‘Operating System (OS).’ So who creates the vehicle SW platform? Like computer operating systems, there are not many companies developing vehicle SW platforms; In Korea, Hyundai Autoever is the only one. Mobilgene, Hyundai Autoever's vehicle SW platform, boasts high performance that satisfies all requirements for the latest mass-produced vehicles with cutting-edge features. Here, Inwon Kang and Hyung-suk Oh, who are in charge of Mobilgene at Hyundai Autoever, explained Mobilgene.
To understand Mobilgene, you must first know the specifications of the vehicle SW platform. Most products developed for a large number of people, such as cars, have specifications, and this also applies to software. Inwon Kang explains how automotive software specifications are created as follows:
“What would happen if each car manufacturer created its own operating system? Just like in the early days of personal computers, each automaker will use different specifications. This could be a waste for the entire automobile industry. If we unify the standards, we can achieve advancement together. This is why ‘AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture’ was established, where automobile manufacturers and IT companies come together to establish vehicle SW structure standards. AUTOSAR is also the name of a standardized software architecture for vehicles.”
“AUTOSAR has three goals – ease of development, reusability, and modularity. Electrical components used in automobiles require a lot of software. And establishing standards and rules from the design stage increases the convenience of development and the efficiency of the verification process. And by standardizing common parts related to electronic control and providing development methodologies and tools so that various automakers can utilize them, we can prevent similar software from being developed.”
It is each company's job to create and utilize a vehicle SW platform in accordance with AUTOSAR standards. They can create their own software platform in accordance with the AUTOSAR standard, or they can purchase and use software made by another company. Rather than taking the easy way out, Hyundai Motor Group decided to develop its own vehicle SW platform. In order for Hyundai to maintain its position as a leader in the mobility industry, it was important to directly research and develop key elements.
Hyundai Autoever began developing vehicle software platforms in 2012. At the time, the leaders in the vehicle SW platform market were German companies. Even now, many automobile manufacturers are purchasing and using vehicle SW platforms. However, Hyundai Autoever began development directly in collaboration with Hyundai Motor Company, Kia, and Hyundai Mobis within the Hyundai Motor Group. Of course there were many naysayers at first; In a market dominated by overseas companies, domestic development seemed like a reckless challenge.
However, Hyundai Autoever succeeded in becoming Korea's only vehicle SW platform developer. In 2019, they named it Mobilgene, a compound word of mobility and gene, and developed it into Hyundai Autoever's software brand. There is a wide range of products within the Mobilgene brand; They have several product lines for controller (ECU) support systems, including Mobilgene Classic, Mobilgene Adaptive, and Mobilgene Security. Hyung-suk Oh explains this as follows:
“Today’s cars are evolving from hardware-based to software-based. In the field of electronic equipment, customer functional requirements are increasing and the cycle of change is shortening. Accordingly, vehicle SW is being developed with a new architecture, and Mobilgene is also being developed to keep pace with these changes and respond to both domain-focused architecture and centralized (Vehicle Computing) architecture.”
"Mobilgene Classic is a standard software platform for controllers based on traditional MCUs (microcontroller units). Mobilgene Adaptive is a service-oriented architecture platform based on APs (application processors). These are designed to provide an environment for a variety of applications that require high-end computing power,” explains Hyung-suk Oh.
“To put it simply, Mobilgene Classic is a platform for staying true to the basics of automobiles. Mobilgene Adaptive prepares you for the evolution of future capabilities. And Mobilgene Security is a security solution that provides a variety of security functions and has been verified through Mobilgene Classic and Adaptive. Importantly, all Mobilgene products are based on the AUTOSAR standard and provide optimized solutions for the communication, OEM-specific functions and security requirements of latest mass-produced vehicles.”
Mobilgene's evolution process coincides with the recent evolution of the automobile industry. Mobilgene Classic 1.0, which began development in 2012, was first applied to the electronic convenience sector of the Grandeur IG, which was unveiled in 2016, and has now become standard software within the Hyundai Motor Group through continuous expansion. In 2021, the automaker developed a standard software platform that supports new security features, and the technology is now applied to most controllers requiring OTA.
Inwon Kang talks about the difficulties during the development process; “With the introduction of new technologies such as OTA and security, we had to maintain existing software while continuously adding new features. This was to simultaneously develop new technologies and improve existing technologies. And since the quality of software is important, it is essential to stick to the principles of the development process.”
Mobilgene Adaptive began development in 2019 to address autonomous driving-related functions. This will be installed on models that will appear in the near future. Mobilgene Classic 2.0, which began development in 2020, complies with the new specifications of AUTOSAR, satisfies functional safety (ISO26262), and has obtained ASIL-D (Automotive Safety Integrity Level) certification at the platform level. It has also acquired ASPICE CL1, a standard used as a framework for improving and evaluating processes, and is upgrading its development process to obtain CL2 in 2024.
Of course, Hyundai Autoever is not the only company that creates vehicle SW platforms; Their competitors are all over the world. Nonetheless, Mobilgene's unique value is clear. Developed proactively by Hyundai Motor Group, it is suitable for the new car or new feature development process. This allows new requirements to be met quickly. Inwon Kang explains this as follows:
“What makes Mobilgene Classic superior to other vehicle software platforms is its speed and mass production know-how. Hyundai Autoever is developing new features needed for automobiles through collaboration with other departments of Hyundai Motor Group. By considering the basic software for each specification, we can establish the optimal plan. And by actively providing guidance on new specifications and functions of Hyundai Motor Group, we are always supplementing high-quality guides that each developer can check. Tasks such as patch updates that can be applied in batches are also our special know-how.”
Hyung-suk Oh continued to explain Mobilgene Adaptive: “Its strength is that it complies with the AUTOSAR adaptive standard specifications while supporting extended specifications specific to Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis. It can be used in high-performance hardware, making it suitable for tasks that require a lot of computation such as machine learning, target recognition, and sensor fusion. Therefore, Mobilgene Adaptive is the optimal vehicle SW platform to complete SDV (Software Defined Vehicle) equipped with autonomous driving, connectivity, and infotainment systems. This platform can fully handle applications with more complex functions and massive amounts of data.”
There are more advantages to having a vehicle SW platform like Mobilgene; It can be used as a foundation to directly test and apply numerous technologies more easily and quickly. Additionally, Mobilgene is also investing in training courses to train future professionals. It influences changes in the industry in preparation for the SDV era.
Mobilgene is applied to all domains, including electrification, chassis, and infotainment domains. And this will also be used in more diverse fields such as cloud-based vehicle interconnection services in the future. This completes an integrated system in which Mobilgene controls all of the vehicle's internal communication systems. For the SDV era, everything related to communication must be reprogrammed to suit each security procedure. In the past, each ECU manufacturer would have analyzed specifications and searched for a suitable solution.
However, Mobilgene provides standard modules to enable consistent application, security, and maintenance. This can reduce development time and contribute to improving the quality of each application - like the OTA function of the new Hyundai Grandeur. Currently, there are many suppliers in the automobile development ecosystem, and there are many different types of ECUs. Without a standard SW platform like Mobilgene, it would have been quite difficult to apply OTA features.
Mobilgene's potential applications extend beyond automotive; For example, Hyundai Autoever signed a development contract with Avikus, a start-up specialized in developing autonomous navigation solutions by HD Hyundai, to apply the next-generation autonomous navigation platform to ships. This is to apply Mobilgene to NeuBoat, an autonomous navigation solution developed by Avikus. This is quite interesting news because Mobilgene has already proven its stability by applying it to more than 200 types of controllers mass-produced by the automobile industry. Hyung-suk Oh explains the application of Mobilgene to vessels as follows:
“There are no limits to Mobilgene's expansion potential. Mobilgene was developed to be a vehicle SW platform, but its role may vary depending on the application software. It can become a core technology for IT convergence. Therefore, we are attempting to expand its application to other mobility types. Because the concept is to load autonomous navigation application software onto the platform, there is no need to change Mobilgene. There are only differences in detailed function activation or settings depending on the requirements of the application software.”
“We plan to provide solutions for future mobility in various fields such as robots and future aviation mobility (AAM). The only limitation is that it must meet high-level safety and security requirements for each sector. In particular, the aviation and space industries require very high safety and quality standards. I think this could be an opportunity to improve the quality of Mobilgene.”
The vehicle SW platform itself cannot provide special functions. However, as in the case of Mobilgene's expanded application, it plays an essential role in the convergence of automobile and IT technology. A software platform serves as a stable foundation for application software to function properly. It also provides accurate feedback when a problem occurs, helping the application software make the right decision. It is very important to develop and continuously improve the vehicle SW platform. Mobilgene can become the foundation for various future technologies that will emerge in the future, as well as the foundation for more diverse mobility. Those who look forward to a future where a variety of mobility will be available are paying attention to Mobilgene and Hyundai Autoever.
Photography by Hyuksu Cho
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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