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October 21, 2021

ZF and KPIT cooperate on ‘middleware solution’ for mobility ecosystem

ZF and KPIT investing in ‘solutions for software-defined vehicles’ to create open and scalable platform which can be used across OEMs and mobility customers.

By David Leggett

ZF Group and KPIT Technologies, a software company, have announced that they will cooperate in the development of a ‘middleware solution for the mobility ecosystem’.

The companies say the continual increase in software complexity coupled with high-performance computing infrastructure needs a robust and dependable middleware solution. The lack of such a solution can potentially delay vehicle development and escalate technology spends, it is claimed.

Built with the software expertise of KPIT paired with ZF’s understanding of vehicle systems, it is hoped a modular middleware solution which can be deployed across OEMs will represent a ‘transformative opportunity for the mobility ecosystem’.

The cooperation will also bring onboard solutions from other technology companies, including semiconductor specialists, software companies, cloud services and start-ups.

“The next generation of vehicles that come into the market will feature electric drives, a high degree of automated functions as well as connectivity, and they will be software-defined,” explained Dr. Dirk Walliser, SVP Corporate R&D at ZF Group. “Using what we develop jointly with KPIT, we can offer our automotive customers even more comprehensive software solutions that fit seamlessly together with our system portfolio for the software-defined vehicle: high-performance computing, software, intelligent sensors and smart actuators.”

In January 2021, ZF established a Global Software Center with responsibility for developing software systems for future architectures on a group-wide level. One core product is an automotive middleware that serves as a “mediator” between a vehicle computer’s operating system and its software applications. Its development is closely connected to the development of application software for mobility domains like automated driving, integrated safety, vehicle motion control and electric mobility.

Kishor Patil, CEO at KPIT Technologies, said: “We are very excited to cooperate with ZF in the development of an industry-leading middleware solution. OEMs want to explore open and scalable middleware solutions that can lay the foundation for the future generation of vehicles, and bring significant quality and productivity improvements. An appropriate middleware solution will help OEMs and our mobility customers make the transition to a solid, central computer architecture. Together, we bring software expertise, systems understanding, and knowledge of OEMs and mobility customer needs. This development cooperation for middleware solutions will add immense value to our global automotive and mobility customers, and significantly shorten development cycles.”

The middleware development will draw upon KPIT’s experience in several production programs, expertise in architecture consulting and software integration, and its strengths in cloud-based connected services. It will use KPIT’s existing assets, tools and accelerators and other core infrastructure.

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