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Linux 4.10 Release – Main Changes, ARM & MIPS Architectures

February 20th, 2017 3 comments

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 4.10:

So there it is, the final 4.10 release. It’s been quiet since rc8, but we did end up fixing several small issues, so the extra week was all good.

On the whole, 4.10 didn’t end up as small as it initially looked. After the huge release that was 4.9, I expected things to be pretty quiet, but it ended up very much a fairly average release by modern kernel standards. So we have about 13,000 commits (not counting merges – that would be another 1200+ commits if you count those). The work is all over, obviously – the shortlog below is just the changes in the last week, since rc8.

Go out and verify that it’s all good, and I’ll obviously start pulling stuff for 4.11 on Monday. Linus

Linux 4.9 added Greybus staging support, improved security thanks to virtually mapped kernel stacks, and memory protection keys, included various file systems improvements, and many more changes.

Some newsworthy changes for Linux 4.10 include:

  • Virtual GPU support – Intel GVT-g for KVM (KVMGT) is a full GPU virtualization solution with mediated pass-through, starting from 4th generation Intel Core processors with Intel Graphics. Unlike direct pass-through alternatives, the mediated device framework allows KVMGT to offer a complete virtualized GPU with full GPU features to each one of the virtualized guests, with part of performance critical resources directly assigned, while still having performance close to native.
  • New ‘perf c2c’ tool, for cacheline contention analysis – perf c2c (for “cache to cache”) is a new tool designed to analyse and track down performance problems caused by false sharing on NUMA systems. The tool is based on x86’s load latency and precise store facility events provided by Intel CPUs. Visit C2C – False Sharing Detection in Linux Perf for more details about the tool.
  • Improved writeback management – Linux 4.10 release adds a mechanism that throttles back buffered writeback, which makes more difficult for heavy writers to monopolize the I/O requests queue, and thus provides a smoother experience in Linux desktops and shells than what people was used to. The algorithm for when to throttle can monitor the latencies of requests, and shrinks or grows the request queue depth accordingly, which means that it’s auto-tunable, and generally, a user would not have to touch the settings. Read Toward less-annoying background writeback for more details about this improvement.
  • FAILFAST support –  This release also adds “failfast” support. RAID disk with failed IOs are marked as broken quickly, and avoided in the future, which can improve latency.
  • Faster Initial WiFi Connection – Linux 4.10 adds support for using drivers with Fast Initial Link Setup as defined in IEEE 802.11ai. It enables a wireless LAN client to achieve a secure link setup within 100ms. This release covers only the FILS authentication/association functionality from IEEE 802.11ai, i.e., the other changes like scanning optimizations are not included.

Some notable ARM architecture improvements and new features:

  • Allwinner:
    • Allwinner A23 – Audio codec driver
    • Allwinner A31/A31s – Display Driver (first pipeline), audio codec support
    • Allwinner A64 – clock driver
    • Allwinner A80 – External SDIO WiFi
    • Allwinner H3 – Audio codec driver, SPI
    • New boards support: NextThingCo CHIP Pro, Pine A64, NanoPi M1
  • Rockchip:
    • Initial support for Rockchip PX5 & PX3 automotive platforms
    • Added Rockchip RK1108 evaluation board
    • Added support for Rikomagic MK808 Android TV stick based on Rockchip RK3066
    • Update Rockchip PCI driver to support for max-link-speed
    • Rockchip rk3399,rk3066 PLL clock optimizations
  • Amlogic
    • Support for the pre-release “SCPI” firmware protocol shipped by Amlogic in their GXBB SoC
    • Initial support for Amlogic S905D, and S912 (GXM) SoCs
    • Added support for Nexbox A1 and A95X Android TV boxes
    • Cleanup for the Amlogic Meson PWM driver
    • New Amlogic Meson Graphic Controller GXBB (S905)/GXL (S905X/S905D)/GXM (S912) SoCs (meson)
    • Resets for 2nd USB PHY
    • Initial support for the SD/eMMC controller in the Amlogic S905/GX* family of SoCs
    • Updated DTS to enable support for USB, I2C, SPI, maibox/MHU, PWM, ethernet MAC & PHY, secure monitor, IR, and watchdog.
  • Samsung
    • Device Tree for Samsung Exynos5433 mobile phone platform, including an (almost) fully supported phone reference board
    • Added support for TOPEET itop/elite board based on exynos4412
    • DeviceTree  updates:
      • Add Performance Monitor Unit to Exynos7.
      • Add MFC, JPEG and Gscaler to Exynos5433 based TM2 board.
      • Cleanups and fixes for recently added TM2 and TM2E boards.
      • Enable ADC on Odroid boards
      • Remove unused Exynos4415 DTSI
  • Qualcomm
    • Add support for Qualcomm MSM8992 (Snapdragon 808) and MSM8994 (Snapdragon 810) mobile phone SoCs
    • Added support for Huawei Nexus 6P (Angler) and LG Nexus 5X (Bullhead) smartphones
    • Support for Qualcomm MDM9615 LTE baseband
    • Support for WP8548 MangOH Open Hardware platform for IOT, based on Qualcomm MDM9615
    • Other device tree changes:
      • Added SDHC xo clk and 1.8V DDR support
      • Add EBI2 support to MSM8660
      • Add SMSC ethernet support to APQ8060
      • Add support for display, pstore, iommu, and hdmi to APQ8064
      • Add SDHCI node to MSM8974 Hammerhead
      • Add Hexagon SMD/PIL nodes
      • Add DB820c PMIC pins
      • Fixup APQ8016 voltage ranges
      • Add various MSM8996 nodes to support SMD/SMEM/SMP2P
  • Mediatek
    • Added clock for Mediatek MT2701 SoCs
    • New Mediatek drivers: mtk-mdp and mtk-vcodec (VP8/VP9/H.264) for MT8173
    • Updated the Mediatek IOMMU driver to use the new struct device->iommu_fwspec member
  • Other new ARM hardware platforms and SoCs:
    • Hisilicon – Hip07 server platform and D05 board
    • NXP – LS1046A Communication processor, i.MX 6ULL SoC, UDOO Neo board, Boundary Devices Nitrogen6_SOM2 (i.MX6), Engicam i.CoreM6, Grinn i.MX6UL liteSOM/liteBoard,  Toradex Colibri iMX6 module
    • Nvidia – Early support for the Nvidia Tegra Tegra186 SoC, NVIDIA P2771 board, and NVIDIA P3310 processor module
    • Marvell – Globalscale Marvell ESPRESSOBin community board based on Armada 3700, Turris Omnia open source hardware router based on Armada 385
    • Renesas “R-Car Starter Kit Pro” (M3ULCB) low-cost automotive board, Renesas RZ/G (r8a7743 and r8a7745) application processors
    • Oxford semiconductor (now Broadcom) OX820 SoC for NAS devices, Cloud Engines PogoPlug v3 based on OX820
    • Broadcom – Various wireless devices: Netgear R8500 router, Tenda AC9 router, TP-LINK Archer C9 V1, Luxul XAP-1510 Access point
    • STMicro  – stm32f746 Cortex-M7 based microcontroller
    • Texas Instruments – DRA71x automotive processors, AM571x-IDK industrial board based on TI AM5718
    • Altera – Macnica Sodia development platform for Altera socfpga (Cyclone V)
    • Xilinx – MicroZed board based on Xilinx Zynq FPGA platforms

That’s a long list of changes and new boards and devices… Linux 4.10 only brings few MIPS changes however:

  • KVM fixes: fix host kernel crashes when receiving a signal with 64-bit userspace,  flush instruction cache on all vcpus after generating entry code (both for stable)
  • uprobes: Fix uprobes on MIPS, allow for a cache flush after ixol breakpoint creation
  • RTC updates:  Remove obsolete code and probe the jz4740-rtc driver from devicetree for jz4740, qi_lb60
  • microblaze/irqchip: Moved intc driver to irqchip. The Xilinx AXI Interrupt Controller IP block is used by the MIPS based xilfpga platform and a few PowerPC based platforms.
  • crypto: poly1305 – Use unaligned access where required, which speeds up performance on small MIPS routers.
  • MIPS: Wire up new pkey_{mprotect,alloc,free} syscalls

You can also read Linux 4.10 changelog with comments only, generated using git log v4.9..v4.10 --stat, in order to get a full list of changes. Alternatively, you could also read Linux 4.9 changelog on kernelnewbies.org.

Dride is a Voice Controlled Dashcam Driving Assistant Powered by a Raspberry Pi Board (Crowdfunding)

February 8th, 2017 3 comments

Next Thing introduced Dashbot Car Dashboard Assistant based on CHIP Pro module late last year, and it will get some competition with Dride, a driving assistant powered by Raspberry Pi, that can also be voice controlled like Dashbot, but includes a Pi camera to record videos, and alert the users of dangers using computer vision, for example when they drive too close to the car in front.

The system leverages Raspberry Pi board and Pi Camera, and adds an outer shell, Dride’s Raspberry Pi HAT, and a car charger & cable. Some of the key features listed for the Dride include:

  • Cloud support – Upload and store driving videos to your Dride profile
  • ADAS – Safety alerts in case of lane deviation or frontal collision
  • Voice – Voice commands for navigation & messaging
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS

The developers also provide “Dride – Passenger Seat Driver” app for Android & iOS in order to easily share videos, and use third party services like Google Maps, Alexa Assistant, or Spotify. The video below will give you a good idea of what Dride is capable of.

Dride software will be open source, and you can already find some documentation about the SDK.

The project has just launched on Kickstarter with the goal of raising $100,000 for mass production. If you already own a Raspberry Pi and Pi camera, a $99 pledge will get you the extra parts with the HAT, outer shell, and car charger. A complete system with the board, camera, and micro SD card pre-installed with DrideOS, requires a $139 pledge (Early bird). Shipping adds $20, and deliver is planned for September 2017.

Source: Raspberry Pi Spy, via Nanik

Supermicro A2SAV mini-ITX Board Powered by Intel Atom E3940 SoC Features 6 SATA Ports, Dual GbE, and Up to 9 USB Interfaces

February 6th, 2017 14 comments

Intel introduced three Atom E3900 series Apollo Lake processors last fall that target IoT, industrial and automotive applications, and Supermicro has designed A2SAV mini-ITX board powered by Atom x5-E3940 SoC that comes with lots of interfaces include 6 SATA ports, two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports, and up to 9 USB interfaces accessible from connectors or headers.

Click to Enlarge

Supermicro A2SAV motherboard specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-E3940 quad core “Apollo Lake” processor @ 1.6 / 1.8 GHz with 2MB L2 cache, 12 EU Intel HD graphics (6.5W TDP)
  • System Memory – 1x 204-pin DDR3 SO-DIMM socket for 2, 4, or 8GB 1866/1600/1333MHz Unbuffered non-ECC 204-pin SO-DIMM DDR3
  • Storage
    • 6x SATA3 ports include 2x from SoC, and 4x via Marvel 88SE9230 controller
    • 1x SATA DOM (Disk on Module) power connector
    • 64Mb SPI Flash EEPROM with AMI UEFI BIOS supporting Plug and Play (PnP), DMI 2.3, ACPI 5.0, USB Keyboard, SMBIOS 2.7.1, and UEFI
    • mSATA and M.2 (See  expansion below)
  • Connectivity – Dual GbE LAN with Intel i210-AT controller
  • Video Output – 1x VGA, 1x Display Port, 1x HDMI, 1x eDP (Embedded Display Port)
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports (rear), 7x USB 2.0 port (2x rear, 4 via headers, 1x type A)
  • Serial – 3x COM ports using RJ45, RS232 and RS485 ports
  • Expansion
    • 1x PCIe 2.0 (in x8) slot
    • 2x M.2 PCIe 2.0, M Key 2242/2280
    • 1x Mini-PCIe with mSATA
  • Misc – Voltage and temperature monitors, chassis intrusion header and detection, system overheat LED, 2x 4-pin fan headers
  • Power Supply – ATX Power connector, 4-pin 12V DC power connector
  • Dimensions – 17.145cm x 17.145cm (Mini-ITX form factor)
  • Temperature Range – 0°C to 60°C

The company can provide mid and mini-tower chassis for the board, as well as a 1U chassis all “optimized for A2SAV motherboard”. There’s no list of supported operating systems yet, but Windows 10 (IoT), and various Linux distributions will certainly run on the board.

Supermicro product page has a few more details including some documents, but it does not mention pricing information. However, the board is listed for back order on Arrow Electronics for $253.73 (back order), and TigerDirect has the light version of the board, named A2SAV-L, with just two SATA ports and fewer USB ports for $169.99.

Thanks to Paul for the tip.

FOSDEM 2017 Open Source Meeting Schedule

January 31st, 2017 4 comments

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) is a 2-day free event for software developers to meet, share ideas and collaborate that happens on the first week-end of February, meaning it will take place on February 4 & 5, 2017 this year. FOSDEM 2017 will features 608 speakers, 653 events, and 54 tracks, with 6 main tracks namely: Architectures, Building, Cloud, Documentation, Miscellaneous, and Security & Encryption.
I won’t be there, but it’s always interesting to look at the schedule, and I made my own virtual schedule focusing especially on talks from “Embedded, mobile and automotive” and “Internet of Things” devrooms.

Saturday 4, 2017

  • 11:00 – 11:25 – Does your coffee machine speaks Bocce; Teach your IoT thing to speak Modbus and it will not stop talking, by Yaacov Zamir

There are many IoT dashboards out on the web, most will require network connection to a server far far away, and use non standard protocols. We will show how to combine free software tools and protocols from the worlds of IT monitoring, Industrial control and IoT to create simple yet robust dashboards.

Modbus is a serial communication protocol developed in 1979 for use with programmable logic controllers (PLCs). In simple terms, it is a method used for transmitting information over serial lines between electronic devices., it’s openly published, royalty-free, simple and robust.

Many industrial controllers can speak Modbus, we can also teach “hobby” devices like Arduino boards and ESP8266 to speak Modbus. Reliable, robust and simple free software Modbus client will be used to acquire the metrics from our device, then the metrics will be collected and sent to Hawkular and Grafana to store and visualize our data.

  • 11:30 – 11:55 – Playing with the lights; Control LIFX WiFi-enabled light bulbs, by Louis Opter

In this talk we’ll take a close look at a one of the “smart” (WiFi-connected) light-bulbs available on the market today. The bulbs expose a small API over UDP that I used to run an interface on a programmable buttons array. We will see how topics like reverse engineering, security, licensing, “self-hosting” and user experience came into play.

monolight is an user interface to control LIFX WiFi-enabled light bulbs. monolight runs on a programmable button array; it is written in Python 3.6 (to have type annotations and asyncio), and it interfaces with the bulbs through a more complex daemon written in C: lightsd.

This talk will start with a live demo of the button grid remotely controlling the light bulbs. We will then explore how it works and some of the motivations behind it (network isolation, trying to not depend on the “cloud”, reliability, user-experience). Finally, we will look into what kind of opportunities even more open IoT products could bring, and open leave the place to Q&A and discussion.

  • 12:00 – 12:30 – Creating the open connected car with GENIVI, by Zeeshan Ali, GENIVI Development Platform (GDP) technical lead

A number of new components have matured in GENIVI to provide a true connected car experience. A couple of them are key connectivity components; namely SOTA (Software Over the Air) and RVI (Remote Vehicle Interface). This talk will discuss both these components, how they work together, the security work done on them and their integration into the GENIVI Development Platform.

This talk will also run down the overall status of GENIVI’s development platform and how it can enable an automotive stack to speak not just with the cloud, but with IoT devices via Iotivity interface.

  • 12:30 – 13:00 – Making Your Own Open Source Raspberry Pi HAT; A Story About Open Source Harware and Open Source Software, by Leon Anavi

This presentation will provide guidelines how to create an open source hardware add-on board for the most popular single board computer Raspberry Pi using free and open source tools from scratch. Specifications of Raspberry Pi Foundation for HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) will be revealed in details. Leon Anavi has been developing an open source Raspberry Pi HAT for IoT for more than a year and now he will share his experience, including the common mistakes for a software engineer getting involved in hardware design and manufacturing. The presentation is appropriate for anyone interested in building entirely open source products that feature open source hardware and open source software. No previous experience or hardware knowledge is required. The main audience are developers, hobbyists, makers, and students. Hopefully the presentation will encourage them to grab a soldering iron and start prototyping their DIY open source device.

  • 13:00 – 13:25 – Building distributed systems with Msgflo; Flow-based-programming over message queues, by Jon Nordby

MsgFlo is a tool to build systems that span multiple processes and devices, for instance IoT sensor networks. Each device acts as a black-box component with input and output ports, mapped to MQTT message queues. One then constructs a system by binding the queues of the components together. Focus on components exchanging data gives good composability and testability, both important in IoT. We will program a system with MsgFlo using Flowhub, a visual live-programming IDE, and test using fbp-spec.

In MsgFlo each process/device is an independent participant, receiving data on input queues, and sending data on output queues. A participant do not know where the data comes from, nor where (if anywhere) the data will go. This strong encapsulation gives good composability and testability. MsgFlo uses a standard message queue protocol (MQTT or AMQP). This makes it easy to use with existing software. As each participant is its own process and communicate over networks, they can be implemented in any programming language. Convenience libraries exist for C++, Python, Arduino, Node.js and Rust. On top of the message queue protocol, a simple discovery mechanism is added. For existing devices without native Msgflo support, the discovery messages can be sent by a dedicated tool.

  • 13:30 – 13:55 – 6LoWPAN in picoTCP, and how to support new Link Layer types, by Jelle De Vleeschouwer

6LoWPAN enables, as the name implies, IPv6-communication over Low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks, e.g. IEEE802.15.4. A lot of resources are available to allow 6LoWPAN over IEEE802.15.4, but how can one extend the 6LoWPAN feature-set for the use with other link layer types? This talk will cover the details about a generic implementation that should work with every link layer type and how one can provide support for ones own custom wireless network. The goal is to give quite a technical and detailed talk with finally a discussion about when 6LoWPAN is actually useful and when is it not.

Last year, as a summer project, a generic 6LoWPAN adaption layer was implemented into picoTCP, an open source embedded TCP/IP-stack developed by Altran Intelligent Systems, with an eye on the IoT. The layer should also be able to allow multiple link-layer extensions, for post-network-layer processing. This could be used for mesh-under routing, link layer security, whatever you want. This talk will cover how one can take advantage of these features and caveats that come with it.

  • 14:00 – 15:00 – Groking the Linux SPI Subsystem by Matt Porter

The Serial Peripheral Interconnect (SPI) bus is a ubiquitous de facto standard found in many embedded systems produced today. The Linux kernel has long supported this bus via a comprehensive framework which supports both SPI master and slave devices. The session will explore the abstractions that the framework provides to expose this hardware to both kernel and userspace clients. The talk will cover which classes of hardware supported and use cases outside the scope of the subsystem today. In addition, we will discuss subtle features of the SPI subsystem that may be used to satisfy hardware and performance requirements in an embedded Linux system.

  • 15:00 – 15:25 – Frosted Embedded POSIX OS; a free POSIX OS for Cortex-M embedded systems, by Brabo Silvius

FROSTED is an acronym that means “FRee Operating System for Tiny Embedded Devices”. The goal of this project is to provide a free kernel for embedded systems, which exposes a POSIX-compliant system call API. In this talk I aim to explain why we started this project, the approach we took to separate the kernel and user-space on Cortex-M CPU’s without MMU, and showcase the latest improvements on networking and supported applications.

  • 15:30 – 16:00 – How to Build an Open Source Embedded Video Player, by Michael Tretter

Video playback for embedded devices such as infotainment systems and media centers demands hardware accelerators to achieve reasonable performance. Unfortunately, vendors provide the drivers for the accelerators only as binary blobs. We demonstrate how we built a video playback system that uses hardware acceleration on i.MX6 by using solely open source software including Gstreamer, Qt QML, the etnaviv GPU driver, and the coda video decoder driver.

The Qt application receives the video streams from a Gstreamer pipeline (using playbin). The Gstreamer pipeline contains a v4l2 decoder element, which uses the coda v4l2 driver for the CODA 960 video encoder and decoder IP core (VPU in the Freescale/NXP Reference Manual), and a sink element to make the frames available to the Qt application. The entire pipeline including the Gstreamer to Qt handover uses dma_bufs to avoid copies in software.This example shows how to use open source drivers to ease the development of video and graphics applications on embedded systems.

  • 16:00 – 16:25 – Project Lighthouse: a low-cost device to help blind people live independently, by David Teller

The Word Health Organization estimates that more than 250 million people suffer from vision impairment, 36 millions of them being entirely blind. In many cases, their impairment prevents them from living independently. To complicate things further, about 90% of them are estimated to live in low-income situations.

Project Lighthouse was started by Mozilla to try and find low-cost technological solutions that can help vision-impaired people live and function on their own. To this date, we have produced several prototypes designed to aid users in a variety of situations. Let’s look at some of them. This will be a relatively low-tech presentation.

  • 16:30 – 16:55 – Scientific MicroPython for Microcontrollers and IoT, IoT programming with Python, by Roberto Colistete Jr

MicroPython is a implementation of Python 3 optimised to run on a microcontroller, created in 2013 by the Physicist Damien P. George. The MicroPython boards runs MicroPython on the bare metal and gives a low-level Python operating system running interactive prompt or scripts.

The MicroPython boards currently use 32 bit microcontrollers clocked at MHz and with RAM limited to tens or hundreds of Kbytes. These are the microcontroller boards with official MicroPython support currently in the beginning 2017 : Pyboard, Pyboard Lite, WiPy 1/2, ESP8266, BBC Micro:bit, LoPy, SiPy, FiPy. They cost between USD3-40, are very small and light, about some to tens of mm in each dimension and about 5-10 g, have low power consumption, so MicroPython boards are affordable and can be embedded in almost anything, almost anywhere.

Some hints will be given to the FOSS community to be open minded about MicroPython : be aware that MicroPython exists, MicroPython is a better programming option than Arduino in many ways, MicroPython boards are available and affordable, porting more Python 3 scientific modules to MicroPython, MicroPython combines well with IoT.

  • 17:00 – 17:25 – Iotivity from devices to cloud; how to make IoT ideas to real using FLOSS, by Philippe Coval & Ziran Sun (Samsung)

The OCF/IoTivity project aims to answer interoperability issues in the IoT world from many different contexts to accommodate a huge range devices from microcontrollers, to consumer electronics such as Tizen wearables or your powerful GNU/Linux system The vision of Iotivity is not restricted to ad hoc environment but also can be connected to Internet and make the service easily accessible by other parties. With cloud access in place, usage scenarios for IoT devices can be enriched immensely.

In this talk we walk through the steps on how to practically handle IoT use cases that tailored towards various topologies. To introduce the approach used in IoTivity, we first give a detailed background introduction on IoTivity framework. Then we will present a demo that shows a few examples, from setting up a basic smart home network to accessing the IoT resource via a third party online service. Challenges and solutions will be addressed from development and implementation aspects for each step of the demo.

We hope this talk will inspire developers to create new IoT prototypes using FLOSS.

  • 17:30 – 17:55 – Open Smart Grid Platform presentation, an Open source IoT platform for large infrastructures, by Jonas van den Bogaard

The Open Smart Grid Platform is an open source IoT platform. The open smart grid platform is a generic IoT platform, built for organizations that manage and/or control large-scale infrastructures. The following use cases are now readily available: smart lighting, smart metering, tariff switching, and microgrids. Furthermore the following use-cases are in development: distribution automation, load management and smart device management. The architecture of the open smart grid platform is modular and consists multiple layers.

The open smart grid platform is highly unique for embracing the open source approach and the following key features:

  • Suitable for scalable environments delivering high performance
  • High availability and multitenant architectures
  • Built with security by design and regularly tested.
  • It has a generic architecture. More use cases and domains are easily added to the platform.
  • The open smart grid platform is based on open standards where possible.

We believe the platform is interesting for developers who have interest in working on use-cases for Smart Cities, Utility Companies and other large-scale infrastructure companies.

  • 18:00 – 19:00 – AGL as a generic secured industrial embedded Linux; factory production line controllers requirements are not that special, by Dominig ar Foll

There is no de facto secured embedded Linux distro while the requirement is becoming more and more critical with the rise of IoT in Industrial domains. When looking under the hood of the Yocto built AGL project (Automotive Linux), it is obvious that it can fit 95% of the most common requirements as a Secured Embedded Linux. We will look how non Automotive industries can easily reuse the AGL code and tools to build their own industrial product and why it’s a safer bet than to build it internally.

Industrial IoT cannot be successful without a serious improvement of the security coverage. Unfortunately there is as today, no of-the-shelves offer and the skills required to create such solution, are at best rare, more often out of reach. AGL as created a customizable embedded Linux distro which is nicely designed for reuse in many domains outside of Automotive. During the presentation we will see how to: – start your development with boards readily available on the Net, – change the BSP and add peripherals using Yocto layers or project like MRAA, – integrate a secure boot in your platform, – add your middleware and your application without breaking the maintained Core OS – develop a UI on the integrated screen and/or an HTML remote browser – update the core OS and your add-ons. – get support and influence the project.

Sunday 5, 2017

  • 10:00 11:00 – How I survived to a SoC with a terrible Linux BSP, Working with jurassic vendor kernels, missing pieces and buggy code, by Luca Ceresoli

In this talk Luca will share some of his experiences with such vendor BSPs, featuring jurassic kernels, non-working drivers, non-existing bootloaders, code of appallingly bad quality, ineffective customer support and Windows-only tools. You will discover why he spent weeks in understanding, fixing and working around BSPs instead of just using them. The effects on the final product quality will be described as well. Luca will also discuss what the options are when you face such a BSP, and what both hackers and vendors can do to improve the situation for everybody’s benefit.

  • 11:00-12:00 – Open Source Car Control, by Josh Hartung

This fall my team launched the Open Source Car Control (OSCC) project, a by-wire control kit that makes autonomous vehicle development accessible and collaborative to developers at every level. In this presentation, we discuss the project and its implications on the development of autonomous cars in a vertically integrated and traditionally closed industry.

A primary barrier to entry in autonomous vehicle development is gaining access to a car that can be controlled with an off-the-shelf computer. Purchasing from an integrator can cost upwards of $100K, and DIY endeavors can result in unreliable and unsafe solutions. The OSCC project acts as a solution to these problems. OSCC is a kit of open hardware and software (based on Arduino) that can be used to take control of the throttle, brake, and steering in modern cars. The result is a fully by-wire test car that can be built for about $10K (USD), including the vehicle. In this discussion, we unpack the impetus and development of the OSCC project, challenges we encountered during development, and the role projects like OSCC have in a necessary “flattening” of the automotive industry.

  • 12:00 – 13:00 – Kernel DLC Metrics, Statistic Analysis and Bug-Patterns, by Nicholas Mc Guire

SIL2LinuxMP strives to qualify a defined GNU/Linux subset for the use in safety-related systems by “assessment of non-compliant development”. To demonstrate that the kernel has achieved suitable reliability and correctness properties basic metrics of such properties and their statistic analysis can be used as part of the argument. Linux has a wealth of analytical tools built-in to it which allow to extract information on compliance, robustness of development, as well as basic metrics on complexity or correctness with respect to defined properties. While IEC 61508 Ed 2 always pairs testing and analysis, we believe that for a high complexity system traditional testing is of relatively low effectiveness and analytical methods need to be the primary path. To this ends we outline some approaches taken:

  • Bug-age analysis
  • Bug-rates and trend analysis
  • Code-complexity/bug relationship
  • Brain-dead correctness analysis
  • Interface and type-correctness analysis
  • API compliance analysis
  • Analysis of build-bot data

While much of the data points to robust and mature code there also are some areas where problems popped up. In this talk we outline the used methods and give examples as well as key findings. FLOSS development has reached a quite impressive maturity, to substantially go beyond we think it will need the use of quantitative process and code metrics – these results from SIL2LinuxMP may be a starting point.

  • 13:00 – 14:00 – Loco Positioning: An OpenSource Local Positioning System for robotics, presentation with a demo of autonomous Crazyflie 2.0 quadcopter, by Arnaud Taffanel

Positioning in robotics has alway been a challenge. For outdoor, robots GPS is solving most of the practical problems, but indoor, precise localization is still done using expensive proprietary systems mainly based on an array of cameras.

In this talk, I will present the loco positioning system: an open source Ultra Wide Band radio-based local positioning system, why we need it and how it works. I will also speak about its usage with the Crazyflie 2.0 open source nano quadcopter, of course ending with an autonomous flying demo.

  • 14:00 14:50 – Free Software For The Machine, by Keith Packard

The Machine is a hardware project at Hewlett Packard Enterprise which takes a new look at computer architecture. With many processors and large amounts of directly addressable storage, The Machine program has offered an equally large opportunity for developing new system software. Our team at HPE has spent the better part of two years writing new software and adapting existing software to expose the capabilities of the hardware to application developers.

As directly addressable storage is such a large part of the new hardware, this presentation will focus on a couple of important bits of free software which expose that to applications, including our Librarian File System and Managed Data Structures libraries. Managed Data Structures introduces a new application programming paradigm where the application works directly on the stable storage form for data structures, eliminating serialization and de-serialization operations.

Finally, the presentation will describe how the hardware is managed, from sequencing power to a rack full of high-performance computing hardware, through constructing custom Linux operating systems for each processor and managing all of them as parts of a single computing platform.

  • 15:00 – 15:25 – Diving into the KiCad source code, by Maciej Sumiński

Let’s be sincere, all of us would love to change something in KiCad. I bet you have an idea for a new tool or another killer feature that would make your life so much easier.

You know what? You are free to do so! Even more, you are welcome to contribute to the project, and it is not that difficult as one may think. Those who have browsed the source code might find it overwhelming at first, but the truth is: you do not have to know everything to create useful extensions.

I would like to invite you for a walk through the KiCad source code to demonstrate how easy it is to add this tool you have always been dreaming about.

  • 15:30 – 16:00 – Testing with volcanoes – Fuego+LAVA, embedded testing going distributed, by Jan-Simon Möller

LAVA and Fuego are great tools individually already. Combining and extending them allows for a much broader test coverage than each tool alone can provide.

The focus of this talk is to share the experiences made and lessons learned so people can integrate such tools better in their own environment. It also raises the pain-points and open issues when setting up a distributed environment.

Especially for Automotive, Long-Term-Support, CIP or Consumer Electronics, advancing the Test-harness is essential to raise the bar and strengthen the confidence in our embedded platforms. Automated testing can improve our ecosystem from two sides: during development (feature does work and does not break things) and during maintenance (no regressions through backports).

  • 16:00 – 16:30 – Adding IEEE 802.15.4 and 6LoWPAN to an Embedded Linux Device, by Stefan Schmidt

Adding support for IEEE 802.15.4 and 6LoWPAN to an embedded Linux board opens up new possibilities to communicate with tiny, IoT type of, devices.

Bringing IP connectivity to devices, like sensors, with just a few kilobytes of RAM and limited battery power is an interesting IoT challenge. With the Linux-wpan and 6LoWPAN subsystems we get Linux ready to support the needed wireless standards as well as protocols that connect these tiny devices into the wider Internet. To make Linux a practical border router or smart home hub for such networks.

This talk will show how to add the needed transceiver hardware to an existing hardware and how to enable and configure the Linux-wpan and 6LoWPAN mainline subsystems to use it. The demonstration will include setting up the communication between Linux and other popular IoT operating systems like RIOT or Contiki as well.

  • 16:30 – 17:00 – OpenPowerlink over Xenomai, by Pierre Ficheux

Industrial Ethernet is a successor of classic field bus such as CAN, MODBUS or PROFIBUS. POWERLINK was created by B&R Automation and provides performance and real­-time capabilities based on standard Ethernet hardware. openPOWERLINK is open source and runs on lots of platforms such as Linux, Windows, various RTOS and dedicated hardware (FPGA). We will explain how to use openPOWERLINK on top of Xenomai 3, a powerful real-time extension for Linux kernel based on co-­kernel technology.

FOSDEM 2017 will take place at the ULB Solbosch Campus in Brussels, Belgium, and no registration is required, you just need to show up in order to attend the event.

Junsun H552C Android 4.4 Car DVR and GPS Navigation System Comes with a 7″ Display

December 9th, 2016 7 comments

There are plenty of Android car systems for sale with DVR and/or GPS navigation capabilities on the net, but sometimes they lack some features, or come in a 2 DIN form factor, which is nice if you know how to disable your car dashboard, but it might be a little complicated if you don’t. An alternative is to get an Android rear view mirror, but obviously the display is much smaller, and it reduces the usable space on the rear view mirror to see what’s going on behind. However, this morning I’ve come across Junsun H552C Android 4.4 system with a 7″ display, rear and front cameras, and GPS navigation system that might be easier to install since it sits on top of the dashboard, and is selling for $118.54 on Dealextreme.

android-dvr-gps-navigation

Junsun H552C specifications:

  • Processor – Quad core CPU @ 1.3 GHz
  • System Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Storage – 16 GB flash (13.07GB available for apps and data) + micro SD slot up to 32GB
  • Display – 7″ touch screen display with 1920×1080 resolution
  • Camera – 2.0 Wide angle (170°) front camera for 1080p recording + external rear camera (140° angle) for 720p recording; simultaneous recording support; PiP display with both camera shown on display
  • Video – AV input
  • Audio – Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Connectivity
    • GPS ( SiRF Star III module) with built-in antenna
    • WiFi & Bluetooth 4.0
    • FM transmitter to output audio to car speaker
  • Navigation – Sygic maps for US and Canada
  • USB – 1x mini USB port
  • Sensor – G-Shock Sensor to automatically save the record video in case of collision
  • Battery – 8,000 mAh battery
  • Dimensions – 12 cm x 4.4 cm x 8.4 cm
  • Weight – 750 grams

Maps appear limited to North America, but descriptions on DX are often incorrect, and since the system is running Android 4.4, you should be able to install your own GPS navigation app.

android-car-dvr-gps-kitThe kit include the 7″ “car dvr system”, a power cable, the rear camera and cable to use while you drive in reverse gear / park your car, a USB data cable, a bracket for the dashboard, and a suction cup bracket in case you prefer to hook the system to your windshield, and a user’s manual.

junsun-rear-viewI could not find H552C on other website, but found the same model without model number on Junsun’s official Alipress store selling for $101.83 shipped. They provided some more information about support maps, and indicate that they will load Europe, North America, South America, Southeast Asia, or Middle East map depending on the country of the buyer. They also mention yearly map updates:

About the map, if you want to update the map, please contact us, we will upload it to the “Dropbox”, please do not download in other places, otherwise it will damage the original map. Update map time: once a year

Hack Autonomous Driving into Your Car with Open Source Hardware Comma Neo and Open Pilot Software

December 1st, 2016 4 comments

George Hotz setup Comma.ai company and worked on a commercial project called Comma One to add autonomous driving to some car models, but then the US highway authorities started to ask questions and promised ever increasing fines if he could not comply with some specific safety regulations/requirements, and eventually he decided to cancel the project due to the regulatory burden. A few weeks passed since the cancellation, and he has now released Open Pilot auto-pilot software and Comma NEO a work-in-progress open source hardware platform connecting to Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 powered OnePlus 3 smartphone to run the software.

Comma NEO

Comma NEO

The system is said to implement “Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) for Hondas and Acuras”, and performs about the same as “Tesla Autopilot at launch, and better than all other manufacturers”.

Open Pilot currently only supports the Acura ILX 2016 with AcuraWatch Plus and the Honda Civic 2016 Touring Edition, but since the software is open source, it should be possible to adapt it to other Honda and Acura models with some tinkering, and other car manufacturers could also be added to the list but would require much more work. The system leverages the cars’ cruise control system which becomes disabled at lower speed, so self-driving only works at higher speeds, 18+ mph or 25+ mph depending on the car’s model.

The video above should be using Open Pilot software, but I’m unclear which exact hardware it is using (Comma One or Comma NEO).

The software also has the following disclaimer “THIS IS ALPHA QUALITY SOFTWARE FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY. THIS IS NOT A PRODUCT. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLYING WITH LOCAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS. NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED”. But if it does not bother you, George has put together a step by step guide showing exactly how to buy all parts (~$700) from 6 different shops, solder the components to NEO Rev A board, wire and test the board, and assemble the case.

Via Arstechnica and Nanik.

Intel Introduces 3 Atom E3900 Apollo Lake Processors for IoT, Industrials and Automotive Applications: x5-E3930, x5-E3940, x7-E3950

October 26th, 2016 4 comments

intel-atom-e3900Intel previously introduced Celeron and Pentium Apollo Lake processors for laptops and mini PCs, and it seemed Atom was gone for good from that processor family, but the vendor has now introduced Atom E3900 “Apollo Lake” processor family for IoT, industrial and automotive applications with three models: x5-E3930, x5-E3940, and x7-E3950.

All three new processors will support up to 8 GB of LPDDR4/DDR3L memory, come in a FCBGA1296 package, be manufactured using 14 nm process, support 4K UHD video output up to 60 Hz on three independent displays, up to 15 simultaneous 1080p30 video stream, as well as 13MP cameras for photos and 1080p60 video capture. Peripherals interfaces include SATA 3.0,  PCIe lane, HDMI, DisplayPort, embedded DisplayPort, USB 3.0 & 2.0 ports and more.

The new processors also integrate Intel Time Coordinated Computing (TCC) Technology that “coordinates and synchronizes peripherals and networks of connected devices, achieving improved determinism. It can resolve latency issues in applications, such as robotics manufacturing, by synchronizing the clocks of devices across networks to within 1 μs”. The technology will be available through Linux built with the Yocto Project.

Click to Enlarge

Intel Atom E3900 Processor Series Reference Platform Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

Reliability is achieved via ECC memory, high-temperature rating between -40°C to 110°C, and some upcoming A3900 SKUs will be qualified for automotive applications. Atom 3900 series also include some security features through Intel Trusted Execution Engine 3.0 (TXE 3.0), secure or measured boot, DRM with HDCP 1.4 wired / HDCP 2.2 wireless, protected audio video path (PAVP), and Intel Platform Trust Technology to store keys and perform crypto operatings compliant with TPM 2.0 specifications.

The three Atom E3900 SKUs most differ by their number of cores, clock speed, max TDP, and GPU.

CPU Cores Base Frequency Burst Frequency L2 Cache Size Graphics Execution
Units (EU)
TDP
Intel Atom x5-E3930 2 1.3 GHz 1.8 GHz 2 MB 12 EU 6.5W
Intel Atom x5-E3940 4 1.6 GHz 1.8 GHz 2 MB 12 EU 6.5W
Intel Atom x7-E3950 4 1.6 GHz 2.0 GHz 2 MB 18 EU 12W

Operating systems supported will include Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise (64-bit) and IoT Core (32-/64-bit), Linux through Wind River 8 (64-bit) and a Yocto Project BSP (64-bit), Android 7.0 Nougat 64-bit (Q2 2017 target release), and Wind River VxWorks 7 real-time operating systems.

intel-apollo-lake-iot

The processors will be used in industrial settings for predictive maintenance, accelerated time to market and increased quality and remote management,  digital security and surveillance (DSS) / vision systems (video) for visual data identification and analysis, safety and security, traffic management and monitoring, agriculture and pipeline monitoring, manufacturing inspection…, as well as for transportation and automotive applications for software-defined cockpits and vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

You’ll find more details on Intel Apollo Lake products’ page.

Imagination Technologies Announces MIPS Warrior I-class I6500 Heterogeneous CPU with up to 384 Cores

October 13th, 2016 No comments

Imagination has just unveiled the successor of MIPS I6400 64-Bit Warrior Core with MIPS Warrior I-class I6500 heterogeneous CPU supporting up to 64 cluster, with up to 6 cores each (384 cores max), themselves up to 4 thread (1536 max), combining with IOCU (IO coherence units), and external IP such as PowerVR GPU or other hardware accelerators.

mips-i6500-scalable-computeThe main features of MIPS I6400 processor are listed as follows:

 

  • Heterogeneous Inside – In a single cluster, designers can optimize power consumption with the ability to configure each CPU with different combinations of threads, different cache sizes, different frequencies, and even different voltage levels.
  • Heterogeneous Outside – The latest MIPS Coherence Manager with an AMBA ACE interface to popular ACE coherent fabric solutions such as those from Arteris and Netspeed lets designers mix on a chip configurations of processing clusters – including PowerVR GPUs or other accelerators – for high system efficiency.
  • Simultaneous Multi-threading (SMT) – Based on a superscalar dual issue design implemented across generations of MIPS CPUs, this  feature enables execution of multiple instructions from multiple threads every clock cycle, providing higher utilization and CPU efficiency.
  • Hardware virtualization (VZ) – I6500 builds on the real time hardware virtualization capability pioneered in the MIPS I6400 core. Designers can save costs by safely and securely consolidating multiple CPU cores with a single core, save power where multiple cores are required, and dynamically and deterministically allocate CPU bandwidth per application.
  • SMT + VZ – The combination of SMT with VZ in the I6500 offers “zero context switching” for applications requiring real-time response. This feature, alongside the provision of scratchpad memory, makes the I6500 ideal for applications which require deterministic code execution.
  • Designed for compute intensive, data processing and networking applications – The I6500 is designed for high-performance/high-efficiency data transfers to localized compute resources with data scratchpad memories per CPU, and features for fast path message/data passing between threads and cores.
  • OmniShield-ready – Imagination’s multi-domain security technology used across its processing families enables isolation of applications in trusted environments, providing a foundation for security by separation.

The processor is also based on the standard MIPS ISA, so developer will be able to leverage existing software and tools such as compilers, debuggers, operating systems, hypervisors and application software already optimized for the MIPS ISA.

mips-i6500-soc

 

The figure above shows what an SoC based on MIPS I6500 may look like with one cluster with 4 CPU cores, 2 IOCUs, another cluster with any CPU cores but instead eight IOCUs interlinked with third party accelerators, and one PowerVR GPU.

Target applications include advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous vehicles, networking, drones, industrial automation, security, video analytics, machine learning, and more. One of the first customer for the new processor is Mobileye EyeQ5 SoC designed for  Fully Autonomous Driving (interestingly shortened as “FAD”) vehicles will eight multi-threaded MIPS CPU cores coupled with eighteen cores of Mobileye’s Vision Processors (VPs). EyeQ5 SoC should be found in vehicles as early as 2021.

MIPS I6500 CPU can be licensed now, with general availability planned for Q1 2017.You’ll find more technical details on the product page, and blog post for the announcement.