Mike Gardner interviews Steffen Herz, HELLA, Head of the Technical Working Group on the eSync specification V2.0

The first version of the eSync OTA specification was initially developed by the five founding members of the alliance, AlpsAlpine, Excelfore, HELLA, Molex, and ZF. Following its release, interest and membership in the alliance and its mission increased substantially. Just a year later, we are launching Version 2.0 with extended features and functions, and I am happy to welcome Steffen Herz, Director Engineering Standards at HELLA, who, as the Chair of the Technical Work Group, led the version 2.0 initiative.

– Mike Gardner, Executive Director, eSync Alliance.

Mike: What are the key differences from version 1.0 – and how will this help companies that are implementing eSync?

Steffen: The main objective of the version 1.0 was OTA for the main ECUs, which run on Linux or another operating system.

For version 2.0 we added, firstly, Data Gathering, which leads to the standardization of the data pipeline between the cloud and the vehicle. We look at getting input data, sensor data, raw data, all kinds of data out of the vehicle to be able to analyse it, to make data models, create business models. Not just transferring bytes and bits, but also streaming.

Secondly, we added Cyber Security Compliance, for example to the latest UNESCE standard. Defining this in the specification makes it much easier for the companies to comply, because it saves them having to worry about the different regulations, different in every region, and so on.

Mike: In your role as Chair of the Technical Work Group, can you tell us how this group works and what challenges you faced?

Steffen: The members of the alliance have representatives in the Technical Work Group. At first, we discuss issues on the meta level and then we go more into detail. Several of our members are very technical, with unbelievable experience. My job is to coordinate our efforts. We are still a relatively small group, and even through the pandemic we were able to continue our work.

We are clear about the mission, so we don’t tend to disagree on the overall directions. Discussions happen about the details and how to best deal with them. If there is something more strategic to decide, we go to the board of the alliance and get their inputs.

Mike: What’s next? Can you give us a hint of what you will be planning for Version 3.0?

Steffen: Firstly, we want to enhance the integration of eSync in the AUTOSAR Classic Platform.
Secondly, I think long-term we are looking at software defined vehicles – a seamless link between cloud and vehicle, but also ‘vehicle to X’. As we move towards vehicles whose features are mostly enabled and controlled by software, OTA updates and Data Gathering will become ever more important, helping automakers to develop and differentiate their cars.