Embedded technologies involve software and computer systems that have a dedicated function within a larger mechanical or electrical system. They control many devices in common use today. In fact, 98% of all microprocessors manufactured are currently used in embedded systems. Modern embedded systems range from portable devices such as smart phones and digital watches to large, complex systems like hybrid and fully electric vehicles (EVs).
Manufacturers of EVs and electric car chargers – both require complex embedded systems to make their respective products function properly through the meticulous integration of software, hardware design, and electronic device housings.
During the development of all-electric cars and the electric car charger to be sold with it – manufactured by our customer challenge arose in the development of specific embedded technology required to make the charger system work seamlessly with the EVs.
The Near-Field-Communication (NFC) controller, a device that provides a set of communication protocols between two electronic devices required the development of a complex device driver. This device driver, the software that would effectively handle and manage the NFC hardware controller, had to be developed in record time for car manufacturer to properly incorporate the charger manufacturer while meeting all targeted milestones within the overall product development schedule as well as anticipated launch dates. To make this happen, car and charger manufacturers partnered with Onplick – specialists in embedded systems software and firmware – to develop this critical device driver.
The work completed by Onplick in developing this driver would normally require two to three months lead time; however, to meet the aggressive development schedule, Onplick was able to successfully deliver this driver technology in one month.
“The work completed by Onplick in developing this driver would normally require a two-to-three-month lead time; however, to meet the aggressive development schedule, Onplick was able to successfully deliver this driver technology in one month.”
Onplick took the lead in developing the Linux driver that would manage the NFC controller. To do so, a microcontroller from STMicroelectronics, a French-domiciled multinational electronics and semiconductor manufacturer, had to be developed from scratch. This microcontroller, the ST25R3912, had to be connected to a Texas Instruments’ AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processor over the SPI bus.
The complexity of this project is visualized below in a software stack diagram. Onplick managed all the work in the lower kernel space which is normally reserved for running privileged operating system kernel, kernel extensions, and most device drivers such as the one developed by Onplick in record time for customers.