Interface for the Connected Vehicle

The IAV Dragoon universal control unit connects vehicles with the Internet of Things and modern driver assist systems

For many years now, IAV has been developing universal control units for prototypes and low-volume production in the passenger car and commercial vehicle segments. The latest product, IAV Dragoon, not only continues this tradition but also caters to the latest trends, like the Internet of Things and automotive Ethernet. Expansion boards make it very easy to provide the mainboard with additional new functions needed for connecting with the outside world and for rapid data transfer in the vehicle.

The Universal Control Unit (UCU) can be used for realizing prototypes and low-volume production quickly and cost-effectively. Over recent years, IAV has developed a whole family of UCUs and used them in various projects: from the small “miniUCU” for applications involving a low level of computing capacity, such as in a simple CAN-CAN gateway, and the “UCUng” (“next generation”) for controlling vehicle functions and similarly challenging tasks, to the latest IAV Dragoon which combines a higher level of computing capacity with expansion options for the Internet of Things and automotive Ethernet. On the Dragoon mainboard, a three-core MPC5748G microcontroller with 160 MHz clock frequency and 768 Kbyte RAM provides the necessary computing capacity, and additional interfaces, such as LIN, SENT, Ethernet, CAN as well as CAN-FD, guarantee that the control unit in the vehicle can always get connected (further technical specifications in the orange insert). “IAV Dragoon can be used for implementing many applications, such as driver assist systems, energy management or control systems for electric and fuel cell vehicles. “One manufacturer of luxury vehicles uses IAV Dragoon in low-volume production to control an extension to the air-conditioning system in its vehicles”, says Stefan Nagorske, project leader and product manager for IAV Dragoon. “But its expansion boards also make IAV Dragoon the ideal security gateway for the Internet of Things or for transferring large data volumes within the vehicle via automotive Ethernet.”

Security gateway for IAV test vehicle

The expansion board for the Internet of Things not only has two CAN and LIN interfaces, but also LTE, UMTS and GPRS, enabling it to connect the vehicle with today’s cellular networks. Integrated Wi-Fi, including the latest security standards, such as WEP, WEA and 128-bit AES hardware support as well as Bluetooth 3.0, guarantee easy connection to local and personal networks. It will soon be possible to see what the module can do in an IAV test vehicle: The “Cloud Car” – a converted Seat Leon Cupra – will show many future applications, such as communication with mobile devices or the integration of biometric sensors. “Here, a secure connection via cell phone, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth is provided by a security gateway from IAV which is currently still based on a Raspberry Pi”, Nagorske explains. “In future, IAV Dragoon is to take over this job with the expansion board for the Internet of Things. As such, it offers an excellent automotive solution.”

The expansion board for automotive Ethernet permits the integration of modern driver assist systems with their high data rates (such as from video cameras) into the vehicle world. “The integrated gigabit switch and support from audiovideo bridging ensure that the module will be able to meet future demands as well”, Nagorske says. “One client from the commercial segment, for example, wants to use the combination of IAV Dragoon and expansion board for connecting several cameras on a trailer with the rest of the vehicle.”

Complete software development environment

Based on its control units, IAV can develop turnkey solutions, with the customer benefiting from over 30 years of automotive and software expertise the company can offer. Using IAV’s hardware as a universal platform, it is also possible for clients to carry out their own calibration activities: “For this purpose, we provide our customers with basic AUTOSAR software and a complete tool chain which, in addition to a standard bootloader, also includes a scheduler, the hardware abstraction layer, various drivers and APIs to standard PC tools and a tool chain for automatic code generation with Matlab/Simulink/ Stateflow”, says Nagorske.

Besides using it in prototypes, show cars, smallscale production up to 10,000 units, commercial vehicles, sports, luxury or special-purpose vehicles, IAV Dragoon is also suitable for use in smart grids and Industry 4.0. Together with one customer, for example, IAV has installed 20 modules in households to connect their photovoltaic systems with high-voltage batteries for energy storage. One automobile manufacturer uses IAV Dragoon to control presses for the production of carbon parts. This means that IAV Dragoon not only continues the tradition of IAV control units – it is also opening up new application areas which will be crucial in future automotive engineering.