Second State joins the Autoware Foundation

Jun 22, 2021 • 3 minutes to read

Second State has joined the Autoware Foundation as an industry member. Through collaboration with the Foundation and member organizations, Second State aims to create and promote an open-source virtualization runtime for Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs).

According to a recent paper on IEEE Spectrum, a typical car has 50+ software vendors. Traditional automotive engineering keeps those heterogeneous software components safe via hardware isolation. That is to enclose each vendor’s software in its own hardware known as an ECU. An average car today has 100 to 150 ECUs making it difficult and expensive to design, customize, test, and maintain. The future is to use software containers to isolate software components from vendors and developers. Second State’s open source WasmEdge project aims to provide a high performance, lightweight, real-time runtime container for automobiles.

New vehicle software and physical architectures will be needed … The architecture will contain just a handful of powerful, extremely fast computer processors executing micro-services-driven code — Robert N. Charette, IEEE Spectrum, 2021

Today’s smart cars are increasingly running software modules on general-purpose computers. Even for mission critical tasks, such as driving controls, software modules are going to replace traditional ECUs. For complex software systems developed by many collaborators, such as autonomous driving systems and infotainment systems, it is essential to isolate and execute software modules in virtualized sandboxes to avoid interference, contain security breaches, and stop bug propagation. Just as virtualization enabled Software Defined Datacenters and brought forward the cloud computing era, we anticipate virtualization will become a crucial technology in SDVs as well.

Second State creates an open source and lightweight virtualization solution, known as WasmEdge, optimized for edge computing applications. It is based on the W3C WebAssembly standard, and has many extensions that are well suited for automotive applications, such as AI inference, socket communication, support for resource constrained OSes and hardware, and SDK support for high performance languages. According to a peer reviewed paper published on IEEE Software, WasmEdge is among the fastest lightweight software sandbox today.

WasmEdge is a sandbox project under the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and Linux Foundation. It has already been adopted by public clouds, SaaS, and edge computing projects. By joining the Autoware Foundation, Second State will adapt WasmEdge for automotive grade hardware, real-time operating systems, and the Autoware autonomous driving software platform. It will showcase how lightweight virtualization could benefit automakers and suppliers.

The critical path for software eating cars is through virtualization.

About Autoware

The Autoware Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting open-source projects enabling self-driving mobility. The Autoware Foundation creates synergies between corporate development and academic research, enabling autonomous driving technology for everyone.

About Second State

Second State builds an open-source virtualization solution for Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs). The goal of Second State is to drastically reduce complexity and improve development velocity for automotive systems. Its WasmEdge runtime is a high-performance WebAssembly virtual machine for Edge computing.

About WasmEdge

WasmEdge (previously known as SSVM) is a high-performance WebAssembly (Wasm) VM optimized for Edge Computing, including Edge Clouds and Software Defined Vehicles. In its AOT mode, WasmEdge is the fastest Wasm VM on the market today. WasmEdge is an official sandbox project hosted by CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation).

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RustWebAssemblyAutomobilesSDVsWasmEdgeopen-sourceAutowareEdge Computing
A high-performance, extensible, and hardware optimized WebAssembly Virtual Machine for automotive, cloud, AI, and blockchain applications