ZF acquires stake in Apex.AI


The intelligence of new generation vehicles is increasingly migrating to a few high-performance mainframe computers. The software running on them should be easy to update and expand with new functions, like a smartphone. And all this with the highest functional safety standards for mobility systems, according to automotive supplier ZF.

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ZF strengthened its automotive software business by acquiring a five percent stake in the software company Apex.AI. In addition to financial support, ZF will also develop software solutions based on the Apex.OS meta-operating system.

“Based on Apex.OS, we can offer our customers an additional ZF Middleware option,” said Nico Hartmann, head of the ZF Global Software Center. “This solution is certified to the highest functional safety standards for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Thus, we offer our customers an alternative to Autosar Adaptive.

“We are proud that ZF, as one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, also offers software solutions based on Apex.OS,” said Jan Becker, CEO and co-founder of Apex.AI. “We hope that this core software, which is non-differentiating software for vehicle users, will become a standard in the automotive industry.”

ZF middleware solutions
Among ZF’s solutions for the software-defined vehicle, high-performance computers and software play a central role, according to the company. In the electrical and electronic architectures of next generation vehicles, they will control all important functions and connect them to both vehicle systems and the outside world.

ZF Middleware is an open software platform that acts as a “mediator” between a vehicle computer’s operating system and its software applications, according to ZF. The key functions of middleware are the abstraction of computer hardware from software applications and the communication between these applications. The actual software functions, such as autonomous driving functions, can in turn be built on this middleware.

Highest functional safety standard
Apex.OS is an operating meta-system derived from the Robot Operation System (ROS), originally developed for robotic applications. Apex.AI has developed this operating system for the automotive industry and has obtained ASIL D certification according to the ISO 26262 functional safety standard for vehicles. As a result, this core software for high-performance automotive computers, including the associated software development kits, is readily available, giving automakers the opportunity to further deploy limited human resources in other areas that offer differentiation. significant for the end customer. Apex.OS can be used in all types of vehicles, such as passenger cars, robots, shuttles and utility vehicles, regardless of their level of automation.

Alternative communication framework to Autosar Adaptive
Apex.OS is written in the new C ++ programming language standards, which allows for great reuse of individual building blocks. This approach is an alternative communication framework to the Adaptive Autosar standards widely used in the automotive industry. ZF says it can provide its customers with both approaches, depending on the respective automaker’s preferred variant.

Another German-based auto supplier Continental also announced last week that it had acquired a stake in the company.


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