The Foundation of the Service-Oriented Vehicle

When thinking about the benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles, many people first think of personal conveniences.

However the real promise of these vehicles is their societal benefits: improved road safety, more efficient utilization of roads, freeing up urban space used by parking lots, reduced pollution (of course) and more.

For 50 years, ECUs have been used to perfect the performance of the vehicle’s powertrain, steering, windows, and more. Many cars today have up to 150 ECUs and their software comprise up to 35% of a vehicle’s value.

Today OEMs are creating new technological conveniences and special safety features that enhance the driver and passenger experience. These advanced features, supported by ECUs and software, include:

  • Infotainment systems with streaming audio and video, touchscreen displays, voice commands and more
  • Personalization and 3rd party-branded app stores
  • Navigation and trip computers with phone integration
  • Remote car start, smart car summoning, and automatic parallel parking
  • Adaptive cruise control, driver drowsiness detection, and Advanced Driver Avoidance Systems (ADAS)
  • And more

OEMs and Tier 1s have decades of expertise in mechanical engineering and designing and building legacy computing, but they are struggling to overcome the technological challenges, such as integrating the hardware and software for delivering the advanced features and functionality that will define the next generation of in-vehicle experience.

The Cybertech Tier offers the automotive supply chain the expertise for consolidating hardware and software components into integrated products and virtualizing computing systems. Their solutions used advanced communication and high-speed Ethernet backbones to deliver flexible, cost-effective, and secure solutions that pave the way for the personalized in-vehicle experience demanded by drivers.

Click Here To Download SOA Whitepaper



The year Steve Jobs envisioned the app store

8.93 million

Phone apps in 2020


Android apps for your car


Of Tesla Model 3s configured online in 2018

A hallmark of consumer behavior in the 2010s was the addiction to constant connectivity and the immediate gratification it offered. Whether it was access to information, binging a TV series or purchasing just about anything online with next day delivery, this behavior has become even more pronounced in 2020.

As connectivity has moved from the desktop to handheld devices, people have become accustomed to personalizing their experience. The launch of app-stores for car functionality heralds the “iphonization” or “smartphonization” of vehicles. In these “software-defined vehicles”, car dashboards will function like smartphones or smart TVs, letting users download software apps from OEMs and the automotive aftermarket to create a consistent, seamless experiences wherever they are—at the home office, out and about, or in the car—and with access to email, AI assistants, streaming music and more.


As the importance of electronics and software has grown over the last decade, so has its complexity. Vehicle software has increased by a phenomenal 1500%, from 10 million lines of code to 150 million lines of code—about 1,000 times more code than the Apollo mission spacecraft to the moon.

The vast amounts of code, created by numerous vendors, often have software-related quality issues or conflicts with other ECUs that cause millions of vehicles to be recalled each year. In 2018, software-related recalls cost the car industry more than $17 billion.


Approx. 150 ECUs

Approx. 7 networks


lines of code


lines of code


lines of code


lines of code

The design of today’s ECUs cannot be scaled to enable software to be quickly fixed or updated to reduce the cost of software recalls. In the coming years, the process of updating and integrating computer code in vehicles will become completely unmanageable. Autonomous or partially autonomous cars (Levels 4 and 5) will require an additional 200 million lines of code to handle vehicle-to-vehicle communication, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, and new customizations or usability-related features.


With the automotive paradigm shift to a drivercentric vehicle, we now have more software code in a vehicle than in a fighter jet or space shuttle. The current architecture cannot be sustained due to the complexity, cost, and security risks associated with so many ECUs, miles of wiring, and associated pieces of software. Today’s ECUs offer the computing equivalent of 20 personal computers and transmit more than 25 gigabytes of data per hour but they are severely limited by the CAN’s data transfer rate of 1 Mbps—a far cry from the 1 Gbps we have on our home and office Ethernet networks..

GuardKnox’s next-generation Zonal Architecture revolutionizes the vehicle’s electrical and electronics (E/E) architecture by decoupling network functionality from the vehicle’s physical hardware. In this new approach, resources are viewed as a pool or cloud that are ready to be distributed and assigned tasks—like today’s smartphone ecosystems.


The automotive industry isn’t the first industry to be faced with extreme growth that outpaces the available computing resources. In the late 1990s, IT resources were stretched to their limits due to the rapid growth of the Internet for many business applications and processes.

To solve the challenge, a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) approach was used in which applications were broken down into specific functional components or “services” that could be remotely accessed on computers or the web and updated independently. The services were independent of the vendors that implemented them and of the clients that used them. Standardized functionality or services were offered by distributed networked computers (servers) and accessed through standardized protocols and Application Program Interfaces (APIs).

GuardKnox has pioneered a patented approach for vehicle networks that uses the SOA methodology to enable any ECU, Domain Controller or Gateway to serve as a vehicle-wide computing platform.

This enables OEMs and Tier 1s to maximize the functionality, security and safety of connected and autonomous vehicles while lowering the complexity of developing software and services to customize their software-defined vehicles. The GuardKnox Secure SOA Stack provides a real-time safe and secure environment for the operation of multiple services within a client-server framework.

It also includes a special partition that implements the functionality of the GuardKnox Communication LockdownTM mechanism that acts as a safeguard securing the entire vehicular computer network.

This method offers four primary benefits:

Creating reusable code

Code components are created and reused to decrease development time


A new standardized communication protocol enables the platforms to communicate and pass data regardless of the languages used to build them


A standard communication protocol limits the interaction between the clients and the backend services and enables web-based services to be scaled without overly taxing the application

Reduced costs

Maintenance costs are reduced as fixes or changes to code can be performed in specific services without impact or requiring the test of end-to-end application performance.


The GuardKnox Product Family offers several options for implementing a vehicle-based Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). A Service-Oriented Architecture creates the in-vehicle environment to securely host applications and services on a single chip with access control and service level partitioning for an upgraded and customized driving experience.

Our product line and solution offerings can be seamlessly integrated into next-generation vehicles, and include Domain Controller Platform, a Zonal Gateway on a Chip, a Vehicle Server, an Aftermarket Add-On, Secure SOA Stack and Built-to-Spec development.. Additionally, the patented Secure SOA Software Stack can be integrated into existing components or architectures to provide both software and hardware (if supported) safety and security isolation for mixed-criticality systems. As a complete stack, it is provided to OEMs and Tier 1 manufacturers for seamless interoperability with other vehicle services and applications while simultaneously reducing development costs.

GuardKnox Service Oriented Architecture for vehicles offer OEMs and Tier-1 vendors the following unique benefits:


Flexible hardware architecture (based on FPGA) for future unforeseen needs and data requirements


Ability to host and communicate with all operating systems, whether mission critical or not and containing the failure of a single app/service so that others are unaffected.

Increased connectivity

Hosting services and downloadable applications for customization

New revenue streams

Supporting an app-store for downloadable personalized apps and features

Reusable cybersecurity services

Including firewalls, remote server management, cryptography or the Communication Lockdown™ framework


A unique feature of the GuardKnox SOA Platform is its patented Communication LockdownTM approach for providing holistic vehicle cybersecurity. Using the vehicle’s communications matrix and OEM’s specifications of the vehicle, GuardKnox builds a state machine that is used to inspect activity on three layers to ensure that if the external vehicle network is compromised by a message from the vehicle’s external connectivity, the internal vehicle network remains fully protected from the propagation of malicious activity.


Service-Oriented Architecture uses a central repository of software services that can be accessed by a variety of subsystems. Because of this, it:

  • Enables the improved delivery of services from local devices to multiple ECUs
  • Allows the flexibility of delivery of critical services with system-wide significance
  • Improves vehicle reliability & safety by having common functionality, implemented, tested and certified once

By implementing these functions as SOA services rather than separate applications, GuardKnox enables Tier 1 suppliers to develop their products and services more efficiently and rapidly. In addition, OEMs need to perform a single testing and integration process that is considerably less expensive.


Click Here To Download SOA Whitepaper


drivers to subscribers

communication lockdown™ methodology uniquely delivers cyber-safe travel and connected car data protection

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