Next generation innovation vehicle HMI system

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Modern vehicles have multiple different buses to communicate between components, like CAN (FD) and FlexRay. ZF builds ”innovation vehicles” with new components to showcase and test them. These components are connected to the automotive buses. ZF uses a web-based Human Machine Interface (HMI) to control and view the state of these parts. This HMI is needed because some systems are not visible or controllable in regular operation. A gateway is required to connect the HMI and the buses. ZF currently uses a CAN to WebSocket gateway that does not support other buses. There is no readily available hardware with the required buses and interfaces. A WebSocket interface is required, as the HMI is running in a browser, limiting the possible protocols.
Therefore, the challenge for this thesis is how to (re)design this HMI system for future innovation vehicles with buses besides CAN. Each vehicle can have a different number and types of buses, so the system must be able to cope with this. The HMI system is not the only part in the network, so it also must be efficient to not interfere with other systems, like network cameras. This redesign was done by analysing the types of buses, the hardware that could be used, and the software components needed for this flexible system. The software components were mapped onto the available hardware to make the architecture as flexible and efficient as possible. Two mappings are proposed, one using a Software Gateway, a custom application with support for different hardware interface drivers, capable of running on Windows, Linux and in containers. The other mapping uses WebSockify, where WebSocket messages are converted to TCP/UDP messages.
These two mappings were combined into a single architecture to combine the features and possibilities of both systems. Then a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) was made to test the envisioned architecture, showing excellent results compared to the current solution while adding more flexibility and other features. Using this new HMI system, the HMI developers can interface with more types of networks, build HMIs that connect to multiple different vehicles and make distributed HMI systems.