HARMAN designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide. HARMAN designs the following; connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions and services supporting the Internet of Things.

HARMAN works with brands such as: AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson®, and Revel®. They are admired by audiophiles, musicians, and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. More than 50 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and connected car systems. Their software services power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated, and secure across all platforms. These can range from being used for work, home, car, and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 30,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. In March 2017, HARMAN became a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

“The automotive OEMs have integrated a multiple of standalone Electronic Control Units (ECUs), providing handling multiple functions such as Infotainment, Telematics, Communication Gateways, Instrument cluster, ADAS, Diagnostics, and more. The growing demand that has resulted in an explosion of number of ECUs in vehicles today. To make a featured packed car system affordable to the customer, OEMs and Tier-1’s must find ways that can reduce cost, space, software complexity, power consumption. While testing and integration overheads while maintaining the software performance, integrity, safety, and security. This is what HARMAN’s Device Virtualization product is all about.”

Pierre-Jean Lautier, Head of Device Virtualization, HARMAN


The HARMAN Device Virtualization for Connected Vehicles is a product that enables car manufacturers, system integrators and Tier-1’s to build a secure hardware-isolated and multi-OS software platform. It is intended to be deployed in automotive vehicles.

The product consists of the core HARMAN Hypervisor (formerly known as Red Bend Hypervisor). Plus more software components that facilitate the integration of automotive grade guest operating systems.

The HARMAN Hypervisor is one of the only production-grade Type-1 and bare-metal real-time hypervisors for automotive platforms. It is ISO 26262-compliant and ASIL B-certified.

The Hypervisor features small footprint, highly efficient code designed for minimum overhead. This makes it suitable to a broad range of use cases and applications in the automotive space. It covers various car domains such as Digital cluster, Telematics, Communication gateway, ADAS, and AD.

The product enables different guest operating systems (or guest OSes) to execute concurrently on the same Arm-based hardware platform. The guest OSes execute in separate Virtual Machines (VMs) that are fully isolated from each other. Those Virtual Machines are allocated a subset of the platform’s physical resources. This is, physical memory, CPUs, and physical devices. They execute directly on the bare-metal hardware.

The key capability of virtualization is to isolate and protect the VMs from each other. This prevents their execution from interfering. Freedom of interference between the VMs is ensured by hypervisor-enforced memory isolation, device isolation, and temporal isolation mechanisms.

The hardware resources that have been explicitly configured are accessible by the VMs. Resources such as memory, processors, and devices can be either exclusively assigned to a specific VM or can be shared by different VMs.

The execution of guest OSes is confined to their respective VM. The hypervisor offers different services for the guests to communicate with their environment and with each other. The product also features a set of virtual drivers that enables the guest OSes to share hardware devices.

The HARMAN Device Virtualization for Connected Vehicles product consists in the following components:

The HARMAN Hypervisor

The HARMAN Hypervisor is the core component of the product. It manages the guest OSes that execute in their respective VMs according to the hypervisor’s configuration data.

The hypervisor consists in a generic core and in a platform-specific Board Support Package (BSP). The hypervisor’s Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) enables customers to port or adapt the hypervisor to their specific hardware platforms by just providing the appropriate BSP. The product ships with reference BSPs for the reference target platforms.

Virtual device drivers

The virtual device drivers enable the guest OSes to access shared devices (storage, network, display). These are then able to communicate with each other.

Build environment and tools

The build environment enables a seamless integration of the HARMAN Hypervisor and the different guest OSes, each of them featuring its own toolchain. Build tools enable configuration of the VMs, building of the hypervisor’s system image and integration of the guest OSes. Run-time management tools monitor the execution of the guest OSes and control their life-cycle (VM restart, shutdown, suspend). These tools are primarily used during platform integration and validation phases.


The product’s documentation set includes manual pages for the hypervisor’s APIs and guides for integrating reference guest OSes.

Automotive configurations combine safety-critical and non-safety-critical guest OSes that execute in isolated VMs. Safety OSes are assigned dedicated hardware resources and are typically granted exclusive access to specific platform devices. The other, non-safety OSes share access to configured virtual and hardware devices.

The high-level architecture of the resulting virtual software platform is illustrated by the following figure. This figure describes a configuration where a safety, real-time operating system and other, non-safety OSes are consolidated on the same hardware platform and execute over the HARMAN Device Virtualization for Connected Vehicles product.

The HARMAN Hypervisor is an automotive-grade, real-time, embedded hypervisor that is:

  • Architecture-agnostic - The Hypervisor runs on Arm processors featuring Arm’s VE hardware Virtualization Extensions.
  • Platform-agnostic
  • The Hypervisor runs on a broad range of automotive-grade hardware platforms that are offered by major vendors such as Qualcomm, Renesas, NXP, and Samsung.
  • OS-agnostic
  • The HARMAN Hypervisor is a Type-1, bare metal, standalone hypervisor. The hypervisor is not tied to any host OS and is not bundled with any proprietary real-time OS (RTOS). The Hypervisor can run both general-purpose OSes. These include Linux and Android, and popular real-time commercial OSes. They can do this while preserving their real-time behavior and their ASIL properties.