Vehicle Electronics & Architecture (VEA)

Bringing Best Practices from Web Development Into the Vehicle

by James Branigan; John Cunningham; Patrick Dempsey; Brett Hackleman; Paul VanderLei


Building embedded systems is nothing like building desktop applications, as the hard real time requirements and relative harshness of the operating environment further constrains design choices to meet real world needs. Those familiar with mainframe or server farm hosted, high volume, wide bandwidth applications know similar harsh computing environments for application development. Given that more man-hours have been devoted to web application development over the past decade than have been devoted to embedded application development, there may be some valuable lessons to be learned that can be adopted by the embedded community for in-vehicle computing. The best web application development teams successfully apply the notions of Representational State Transformation (REST) and Resource Description Framework (RDF) to handle the increasing demands on their sites. We have taken these technologies and applied them to the smaller scale vehicle telematics platforms (PowerPC, ARM, and Atom) to test their viability. This paper describes how we approached the design decisions that enabled us to successfully wrap a commercial J1939 CAN bus with a miniature web server that provides a REST API for applications to interact with an engine control unit. The architecture has been successfully deployed for custom mining and construction equipment.