Green Hills Platform for Instrument Clusters

Automotive instrument clusters are evolving dramatically and the pace of change is likely to quicken due to intense focus on vehicle safety and improvements to digital human machine interfaces (HMI).

Providing drivers with the information they need while keeping eyes on the road is spurring interest in head-up displays. Analog gauges continue to give way to digital high-res 2D / 3D graphics screens with flexible designs that satisfy consumer demands for personalization. For vehicle manufacturers, instrument clusters present an invaluable opportunity for differentiation through color, style, features, and the ability to customize.

High expectations – being met

As with infotainment systems, consumers' expectations are driven by their familiarity with high-resolution mobile devices. New standards are being set. An instrument cluster architecture must be

  • real-time
  • undeniably reliable
  • able to support complex high-performance graphics engines

The instrument clusters in today's vehicles must be able to scale from low—for economy vehicles using analog gauges and a simple LCD text screen—to mid-level—for vehicles using some monochrome 2D graphics—to high—for luxury vehicles with full-digital 3D color and heads-up display. Green Hills Platform for Instrument Clusters is the scalable foundation for automakers and suppliers to meet consumers' high expectations.

A scalable foundation for a range of instrument cluster products

Green Hills, Altia, instrument clusters Analog instrument gauges and needles are continuing to give way to high-res 2D/3D digital graphics screens with flexible designs that that satisfy consumer demand for personalization (image courtesy Socionext).

The Green Hills Platform for Instrument Clusters is built on a scalable family of real-time operating systems (RTOS):

The INTEGRITY RTOS is built on an advanced partitioning architecture that provides embedded systems with total reliability, absolute security, and optimum deterministic real-time response. With its leadership pedigree underscored by safety and security certifications from a range of industries, INTEGRITY sets the standard for real-time operating system safety, security, and reliability.

Both the µ-velOSity real-time microkernel and the INTEGRITY RTOS are supported by a rich automotive-oriented ecosystem as well as by the MULTI integrated development environment (IDE), TimeMachine trace-powered suite, Green Hills Compilers and high-speed JTAG probes, which automakers and suppliers have used for decades to dramatically improve their software development productivity.

This family of real-time operating systems enables developers to choose the best fitting RTOS and to reuse application and system software across a range of their products because µ-velOSity and INTEGRITY share:

  • an upward-compatible application source base,
  • an upward-compatible operating system API, and
  • a common development toolset

INTEGRITY Multivisor is the industry’s leading hypervisor that is based on the INTEGRITY separation kernel and provides a proven platform to consolidate, run and deploy mixed criticality applications. With INTEGRITY Multivisor, customers can take full advantage of the sophisticated, multicore, multifunction processors making their way into next generation instrument cluster designs by enabling the safe, independent execution of high level guest OS’es like Linux and Android, combined with time and safety critical services that in the past resided on separate, less capable ECU’s. The ability to safely and reliably combine ECU services enables:

  • reduced per-vehicle electronics cost
  • reduced vehicle electronics complexity
  • enhanced debugability and test
  • faster time-to-deploy
  • higher vehicle ECU reliability

Immediate response with uncompromised performance

INTEGRITY RTOS boots instant-on

Car owners expect their instrument clusters to be ready for use immediately after they press the "on" button. INTEGRITY and µ-velOSity boot "instant-on," enabling time-critical functions such as rear-view camera to be up and working virtually immediately. Unlike other memory-protected operating systems, INTEGRITY never sacrifices real-time performance for security and protection.

For economy vehicle clusters, including those for two- and three-wheelers in emerging markets, Green Hills µ-velOSity real-time microkernel has an exceptionally small memory footprint (as little as 1KB RAM and 1.6KB ROM), requires fewer than 1500 cycles to boot, and follows with extra-fast instruction execution. It offers a clear, concise API that reduces development time and improves product maintainability. Written in ANSI/ISO compliant C, µ-velOSity employs a rigorous coding style that includes MISRA-C safety subset enforcement.

Fast, safe and secure

green hills platform for instrument clusters As a partitioning operating system, the INTEGRITY RTOS provides guaranteed protection and separation of software components for instrument clusters.

The INTEGRITY RTOS technology is certified at the world's highest safety and security levels. Coupled with the integrated MULTI tool chain — certified to the highest ISO 26262 ASIL D tool qualification level — developers can develop and deploy with confidence.

INTEGRITY's memory protection, microkernel architecture, and virtual device driver paradigm ensure that the core kernel is impervious to the software bugs that inevitably surface in a sophisticated instrument cluster system.

Beyond memory protection, however, INTEGRITY guarantees the necessary memory and CPU resources that each applications needs to operate, which the ISO 26262 standard requires to prevent cascading of errors when you combine software elements of different criticality into a single system. Notably ISO 26262 mentions that portioning (and more specifically a partitioning operating system) is a design measure to prevent cascading of errors between software elements. A problem in a lower criticality subsystem cannot affect the operation of the higher criticality subsystem. The same partitioning and resource guarantee capabilities protect the instrument cluster applications from Internet-born worms or viruses. Even if a virus were to get into the system, existing applications cannot be starved of memory or CPU time. Similarly, a bug or design flaw in a less critical component cannot affect another independent component.

Advanced multicore development environment

Green Hills SuperTrace Probe The SuperTrace Probe supports debugging of multiple cores in a single JTAG scan chain as well as tracing a single core. This means you can use it in even the most complex situations without sacrificing the trace port interface or trace buffer depth.

Green Hills offers a wide range of development tools to help automotive electronics engineers bring robust, reliable applications to market in the shortest possible time:

  • MULTI IDE is a complete software environment for building embedded applications in C, C++, and Embedded C++. It includes an interface that automates rule-checking and team-wide enforcement of MISRA-C:1998 and MISRA-C:2004 safe coding rules.
  • The MULTI TimeMachine debugging suite adds powerful back-in-time debugging and trace analysis tools to find and fix difficult bugs faster, and
  • Green Hills optimizing compilers consistently outperform competing compilers on EEMBC benchmarks to generate the fastest and smallest code.
  • DoubleCheck Integrated Static Analyzer is a source code analyzer that is built into the Green Hills C/C++ compiler.
  • The Green Hills Probe and SuperTrace Probe, are integrated with MULTI for board bringup, multicore debugging and run-control. They use industry standard parallel and serial interfaces replacing the need for expensive emulators. With support for more than a thousand processors and boards from over 30 manufacturers, the Green Hills probes provide fast, reliable debugging, programming, and system visibility.

Platform components

Scalable Family of Real-Time Operating Systems

  • Safe — The safety certified INTEGRITY RTOS technology is certified to the highest safety levels for ISO 26262 (ASIL D) and IEC 61508 (SIL 4).
  • Secure — INTEGRITY RTOS technology is certified to the highest security level ever achieved for any software product—Common Criteria SKPP, EAL6+ High Robustness
  • FlexibleINTEGRITY Multivisor securely and safely runs guest operating systems alongside critical applications
  • Deeply embeddedµ-velOSity microkernel offers a tiny footprint and simple programming model for microcontroller architectures.
  • Open — Automotive application programming interfaces to OSEK, AUTOSAR and POSIX

Middleware components

Software Development tools

  • MULTI IDE and Green Hills toolchain are qualified to the highest functional safety levels, including ISO 26262 (ASIL D) and IEC 61508 (SIL 4) and EN 50128 (SWSIL 4)
  • Green Hills Optimizing Compilers for C, C++, and Embedded C++ generate the fastest and smallest production-quality code on a broad range of automotive processor architectures
  • MULTI IDE includes multicore debugger, profiler, simulator, run-time error checking, project builder, editor and much more
  • TimeMachine revolutionary debugging suite. Run and step an application back in time to find even the most difficult bugs in minutes.
  • MISRA C Adherence Wizard for building in code quality at the time of compilation
  • DoubleCheck integrated static source code analyzer
  • Integration with MathWorks' Embedded Coder and Simulink for modeling, simulation and PIL testing

Hardware Development tools

  • Green Hills Probe V4 for multicore hardware bring-up, low-level debugging and trace-powered analysis tools

Device Lifecycle Management (DLM)


Rich ecosystem for instrument clusters

Green Hills understands the value of providing integrated, total solutions directly to its instrument cluster customers. In addition to offering the industry's most comprehensive solutions, we have partnered with best-in-class technology providers to integrate their complementary products with the Green Hills Platform for Instrument Clusters, including:

  • Accelerated 2D and 3D graphics, including OpenGL, OpenVG, HTML5 for latest GPU hardware
  • Automotive connectivity including CAN, MOST, WLAN, USB, Bluetooth, Ethernet and more
  • Databases and storage including embedded databases and flash devices
  • Code Quality, test and management including automated testing and code coverage analysis tools
  • Application Modeling & Simulation for building and evaluating applications early in the software lifecycle
  • Network protocols and security for communication within the vehicle network and to the external world
  • Automotive processors from leading semiconductor manufacturers

For a complete list of ecosystem partners for Green Hills Platforms for Automotive click here.