Vehicle Electronics & Architecture (VEA)

Software Virtualization in Ground Combat Vehicles

by Daniel McDowell; John Norcross


Increased complexity of ground combat vehicles drives the need to support software applications from a broad variety of sources and seamlessly integrate them into a vehicle system. Traditionally, hosting GOTS and COTS applications required burdening a vehicle’s computing infrastructure with dedicated hardware tailored to specific processors and operating systems, heavily impacting the vehicles space, weight and power systems. Alternatively, porting the applications to the vehicles native computer systems is often cost prohibitive and error prone. Advancements in commercially developed software virtualization capabilities bring an entirely new approach for dealing with this challenge. Virtualization allows real-time and non-real-time applications running on different operating systems to operate seamlessly alongside each other on the same hardware. The benefits include reduced software porting costs and reduced qualification efforts. Additionally, elimination of specialized computing environments can produce significant gains in space, weight, power and cooling demands.