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Firmware Over-the-Air (FOTA) Update and Bootloader Development for an Electric Vehicle

About the Customer:

Our customer is a leading Electric Vehicle OEM. Before this project, we have had the privilege of partnering with the same customer for other product development programs, mostly in the EV space.

Business Challenge:

During the design stage, our customer realized the need for remote vehicle diagnostics and ECU reprogramming for an Electric Vehicle Control Unit (ECU) product.

Integration of Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) software and hardware could facilitate this requirement. Fully aware of our competencies, the customer was confident to partner with us for this FOTA project.

After a series of discussions, it was agreed to develop a FOTA system with two microcontroller platforms – one for interfacing with the cloud backend to download the new update package and the other for interfacing with vehicle control units over CAN to fetch vehicle related data.

This complex system was to be built within a very challenging time frame. As we had already had several ready-to-deploy stacks- UDS, CAN, BSPs etc. as well as all the requisite skill sets, we had the confidence of delivering quality products within the stipulated time-frame.

Embitel Solution:

After finalizing the project scope, our automotive software development team swung into action. The software architecture was prepared with clearly defined layers.

FOTA_System_Architecture_Case Study

Following were the deliverables we planned to provide:

  • FOTA enabled Bootloader to be implemented into the Application Processor (Sierra Wireless).
  • Bootloader software for a separate microcontroller called the Vehicle Control Unit (NXP).
  • Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL), CAN/LIN drivers ( to facilitate communication between vehicle ECUs ).
  • HTTPS, MQQT protocol implementation (for secure connection with the cloud backend).
  • Low-level device drivers (SPI, UART, timer etc).
  • GPS & GSM modules and external memory module.
  • UDS software stack for remote vehicle diagnostics.

Here is an overview of the FoTA system we developed:

FOTA_Diagram_ME_Electric Vehicle

Our experience in working on a plethora of microcontroller platforms like Freescale, Renesas etc. ensured that we had reusable Board Support Packages and device drivers ready for deployment.

We performed the required customizations in these components, for seamless integration with Electric Vehicle ECUs. As agreed-upon, we also provided post-delivery support in the event of production environment issues.

Embitel’s Impact:

The biggest impact was the reduced time-to-market, as this was a major concern for the customer.  We were able to deliver the project in 4 weeks.

Our reusable stacks and software packages were able to reduce the development time by a whopping 60%.

Tools and Technologies:

  • Server for testing- Microsoft Cloud.
  • IDE- Code Warrior and IR Embedded Workbench.

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