About the Customer:

Our customer is a US-based products and services provider with operations in more than 40 countries. Some of their focus industries are transportation, geospatial, telecommunications and agriculture. They are also a leading supplier of telematics and diagnostics technologies for the automotive domain.

Business Challenges:

  • Our client was interested in reengineering their Telematics Control Unit (TCU) to suit next-generation heavy vehicles used in construction, excavation, mining, etc.
  • There was a need to add new peripherals and features to the existing TCU to adhere to the latest trends. This involved extensive hardware and firmware development and testing efforts that were spread across multiple project phases.

The Embitel Solution:

Upon receiving the business requirements from the customer, the hardware development team started work on the project. This was followed by the firmware development phase.

Subsequently, there were multiple development phases in which additional features were integrated into the telematics platform. This required the dedicated focus of the hardware, software and testing teams.

Hardware Project:

  • The original telematics platform of the customer had components that were nearing their end-of-life. Those circuits were redesigned.
  • The hardware team also integrated additional features into the telematics platform.
  • Since the product was designed for a global market, compliance to standards prevalent in different countries was a critical requirement to be met.

Firmware Project:The firmware project was executed in the following phases:

  • Device driver and HAL porting – This phase included key processes like board bring-up and development of device drivers for Bluetooth module, GSM, GPS, along with complex peripherals like USB, etc.
  • Boot loader and Firmware-Over-the-Air (FOTA) modules – The team performed version comparison, Golden Firmware Backup activities, integration of HTTPS, flash storage, etc.
  • FreeRTOS portingAmazon FreeRTOS was used in this project. The team has worked with AWS library based OTA and custom bootloader. This project phase consisted of activities related to memory allocation, task priority definition, kernel interrupt configuration and much more.
  • Diagnosis – Failure detection of CAN, GPS, Memory read/write and DI/AI was performed in this phase, apart from various other evaluations. Support for this phase included the evaluation of failure conditions and current working conditions of the peripherals. The team also integrated our ready-to-deploy J1939 stack with the product.

* Golden Firmware Backup – The development team implemented Golden Firmware Backup for this project. Golden firmware helps in starting the device with minimal expected functionality. The backup can also be used as a rollback option if the new firmware being updated is corrupted.

An advanced MCU with bootloader and additional flash memory is required to preserve both the golden firmware and the new firmware before update.

Testing:

  • The testing team developed test cases based on the project requirements. These test cases covered functional, integration, and performance testing.
  • The team validated all the components, verified normal OTA update and Golden Firmware backup scenario, performed diagnosis testing, generated test reports and also shared the related documentation with the customer.
  • The client was also engaged in application development for this project. These activities were performed in parallel with the work done by the Embitel team. Hence, the firmware we developed was regularly integrated with the application hardware and subsequently tested.

Embitel Impact:

  • The team overcame challenges related to remote working conditions due to the pandemic lockdown. They collaborated effectively to complete the testing on time and ensured that there was no adverse impact to the quality.
  • The client was delighted with the quality of our deliverables and adherence to timelines.

Tools and Technology:

  • STM Cube MX tool – Was used for device driver development. Using this tool, it was possible to bring up the driver at an expedited rate
  • TestLink tool – Was used for execution of test cases
  • PM tool – Internal tool used in the organization
  • Amazon FreeRTOS – Open source OS for microcontroller
  • IAR – IDE and compiler

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