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Project ACRN

The Linux Foundation: Crack Open ACRN – A Device Hypervisor Designed for IoT

By Blog

This article was produced by The Linux Foundation with contributions from Eddie Dong, Principle Engineer of Intel Open Source Center.

As the Internet of Things has grown in scale, IoT developers are increasingly expected to support a range of hardware resources, operating systems, and software tools/applications. This is a challenge given many connected devices are size-constrained. Virtualization can help meet these broad needs, but existing options don’t offer the right mix of size, flexibility, and functionality for IoT development.

ACRN™ is different by design. Launched at Embedded Linux Conference 2018, ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind and optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform.

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Harman’s New-Generation Intelligent Cockpit – Based on Intel’s Computing Platform

By Blog

This article was first released on TMTPost (钛媒体), a Chinese media/news outlet focusing on technology, media and telecom industries on April 27, 2018 in Mandarin. This is the translated version of the news article.

When the automobile is seen as a mobility tool with more intelligent and connected attributes, developing a model with premium experiences is no longer simply the business of automobile manufacturers. A growing number of technology companies and suppliers are beginning to shift their mindset, adding more internet-enabled features and experiences.

During the 2018 AutoChina 2018 Show in Beijing, a unique Maserati car was showcased at Pavilion E4 in Harman’s booth. Unique features of this car adopted Harman’s latest “intelligent cockpit” solution based on Intel’s innovative technology, a result of the three-parties’ collaboration.
Harman’s new-generation “intelligent cockpit” uses a large QLED screen that extends from the center of the vehicle, all the way to the front passenger door. Though not as big as the 64-inch screen demonstrated by Byton, the point is–this suite of the solution developed by Harman allows customization for the needs of drivers and passengers.

The large QLED screen that extends from the center of the vehicle, all the way to the passenger door

In specific driving scenarios, two users are able to use separate screens without affecting each other. For example, when the driver is using it to access navigation features, the passenger is able to simultaneously use it to access entertainment features such as watching a movie or playing games, without occupying the same screen, which is very convenient.

Knob switch with embedded OLED screen

The interactive design includes three centrally located knob in the center console to control the functions of air temperature, time, and access to voice assistants respectively. Each knob switch features an embedded OLED screen that displays the desired function. Nowadays, the physical keys for interactive interfaces of automobiles are giving way to an increasing number of virtual ones.

Additionally, this control system comes with a curved OLED screen located just below the dashboard, allowing users to have access to A/C controls, driver settings, and other various vehicle options.

A close up of Haman intelligent cockpit based on Intel chip

From a technical perspective, Haman’s new generation of “intelligent cockpit” demonstrated on the Maserati model is powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor Apollo Lake and the virtualization software, ACRN.

As a processor designed specially for car experiences, Intel® Atom™ processor Apollo Lake features powerful computing power and workload integration functions, and multiple high definition video output interfaces. The processor can support in-vehicle infotainment system/cockpit experience, a digital instrument cluster, rear-seat entertainment and advanced driving assist system;

ACRN is a flexible and lightweight virtualization software recently unveiled by Linux Foundation. With most of the engineering and code contributions from Intel, the project caters to the use case of automobile products. ACRN is positioned for efficient real-time and safety-critical features and allows continuous optimization of functional design through an open-source platform.

ACRN is comprised of two main components: the hypervisor software and its device model, which support the sharing of a broad range of I/O devices. Intel’s rich experience in virtualization technology played a critical role in the initial development of this hypervisor solution.

In the transformation of future mobility, Intel has accurately judged the market direction of intelligent cockpits, introduced appropriate product planning, and joined hands with a number of world-renowned companies such as Tesla, BMW, GM, FCA, Toyota, as well as Neusoft and SAIC in China to co-develop intelligent cockpits and other platform technologies, as well as modular automotive-grade products.

In addition, to accelerate the application of intelligent technologies to automobiles, Intel has partnered with multiple Tier 1 suppliers of auto parts and OEMs in China. Intel’s broad and abundant market resources, will undoubtedly speed up the timetable for mass production.

Harman and Intel will play their respective roles in promoting the localization of “intelligent cockpits”. It is reported that Haman’s new-generation “intelligent cockpit” has been gradually adopted by local Chinese car manufacturers.

ACRN Debuts at Alibaba’s YunQi Conference, Intel and AliOS Working Together to Create an Electronic-Cockpit Solution

By Blog


2018 YunQi Conference Shenzhen Summit was held last week at Sheraton Shenzhen. Alibaba showcased their technology and products in the field of Cloud Computing, Big Data, AI and IoT, and gave an analysis on the trend of these technologies. Mr. HU Xiaoming, GM of Alibaba Cloud said: ‘in the past 20 years, the internet has been ‘Internet of People’; for the next 20 years, it will be ‘Internet of Things’. The first half of the game is to digitalize human activities, such as e-commerce, social, entertainment, etc, thus cultivated today’s booming internet market, behind such evolution is 4 billion internet users worldwide. The second half of the game will be to digitalize the entire physical world – roads, cars, forests, rivers, factories… even a trash bin will be abstracted into the digital world and connected to the internet, to achieve ‘thing’ to ‘thing’ communication, and ‘human’ to ‘thing’ interaction. This will be a more profound technology change, and a brand new productivity revolution.


In the Internet of Things era, automobiles, as the largest smart terminal have drawn great attention. The industry sees smart/connected cars as the future direction of automotive development. On this YunQi Conference, Intel and Alibaba demonstrated their leadership in this area. Recently, the two companies had joined forces and launched the next generation e-cockpit solution based on AliOS and Intel architecture, aiming for providing automotive manufactures and tier-1 suppliers with diversified options for hardware-software integration meeting the demands for system integration, and to enrich local ecosystem and accelerate product development process and continuous innovation.

英特尔为汽车应用配备了强大的硬件平台和软件平台,其中全新一代车规级芯片家族Apollo Lake具有强大的计算力和负载整合功能并具有多个高清视频输出接口,满足下一代电子座舱需求;英特尔Linux 基金会近期发布了轻量级的虚拟化软件–ACRN,其代码仅有大约 25K,具备高效的实时性和严格的安全性特点,并能通过开源平台不断优化功能设计,以确保未来汽车从底层到上层最大化满足整个系统的安全要求。

Intel provided a powerful hardware and software platform for automotive applications. Apollo Lake is a next generation automotive-grade chip family, features strong computing power and workload integration capability, and multi hi-res video output interfaces to meet the requirement of next generation e-cockpit. Plus ACRN – a lightweight virtualization software recently announced by the Linux Foundation, which has only 25K lines of codes, designed with real time and safety criticality in mind, and optimized with open source platform, which ensures future automotive can meet the security requirement of the entire system to the greatest extent from the bottom to the top layer.

基于 AliOS和英特尔全新一代车规级芯片家族Apollo Lake研发的下一代电子座舱,将更多数字化内容引入座舱内,利用Apollo Lake处理器强大的计算能力和AliOS丰富的生态使电子模块部分从分立走向整合,大大提升人机交互和多屏幕的数字仪表/车载信息娱乐体验。通过基于ACRN虚拟化软件技术实现同时多个操作系统的区隔运行,使得各系统具有的不同特性能够满足于不同子功能的应用需求。

Next generation e-cockpit based on AliOS and Intel’s Apollo Lake, the new automotive-grade chip family, brings more digital contents into the e-cockpit. With the computing power of Apollo Lake and enriched ecosystem of AliOS, the discrete electric module parts are getting integrated, which significantly improves human-machine interaction and the experiences with digital meters/IVI system with multi-screens. With ACRN virtualization technology, it runs multi-OS simultaneously with isolation, enables different features of each system to meet application requirements of different sub-functions.

Mr. Andy Xu, Director of TSD from Intel China said: ‘In the past, we need two chips for workload integration, one chip to control the entertainment system, the other one to control the meters system. Now we could use just one chip, which runs two OS through virtualization, that means implement two functions on one set of hardware, this is the trend for future e-cockpit. For such integration, it requires the system provider has long-term experience in security and virtualization solutions. Intel is a global leader in virtualization technology. We’ve commercialized virtualization technology first on servers, and we have a 100-person team in Shanghai who contributed lots of code to develop ACRN virtualization software, in hope to provide computing power and workload integration service for automotive industry. This is our technology advantage’.


On this YunQi Conference, ACRN joined the demo with AliOS on Intel platform. Running on Intel Apollo Lake family of chips boast greater fluency and allows more customization for the system. Furthermore, there’s no need to re-write codes, you can build new applications on top of the existing system.

与目前其他的开源hypervisor软件有所不同,ACRN™ 是一款特别针对嵌入式物联网产品设计的开源hypervisor参考软件。

Unlike any other open source hypervisor software existing today, ACRN is an open source reference hypervisor designed specifically for embedded IoT development.


ACRN is a flexible, lightweight hypervisor recently released by the Linux Foundation and suitable for automotive application. Intel had significant contribution to the system design and code. ACRN was built with real time and safety-criticality in mind, and could continuously optimize its functional design through open source platform.

ACRN主要由两个部分组成:hypervisor软件和设备模型, 支持众多的I/O设备共享。英特尔公司在虚拟化技术上的丰富经验和领导地位在这个hypervisor解决方案的初期开发中起到了关键作用。

ACRN is comprised of two main components: the hypervisor and its device model, complete with rich I/O mediators. Intel’s experience and leadership in virtualization technology was key to the initial development of this hypervisor solution.


From enterprises perspective, developers will benefit from ACRN’s features such as small footprint, real-time performance. It’s flexible enough to handle different use cases while talking safety-criticality into consideration.


For Intel, IA already supports all in-vehicle infotainment operating systems in the market, including AliOS. With AliOS’s comprehensive and rich local ecosystems, Intel and AliOS will provide more automotive manufacturers with excellent in-vehicle innovative application experience. For AliOS, by leveraging Intel’s rich experience and advanced products in the field of automotive electronics, and its rich ecosystems, AliOS will significantly improve the experience of in-vehicle human-machine interaction as well as multi-screen digital meters and in-vehicle infotainment, so as to provide automotive manufacturers with integrated infotainment systems and better services.

Intel® Testimonial

By Blog No Comments

Introducing ACRN™: A Big Little Hypervisor for IoT Development

By Imad Sousou

IoT developers face mounting demands as connected devices are increasingly expected to support a range of hardware resources, operating systems, and software tools/applications. As we’ve seen in other market segments, virtualization is key to meeting these broad needs.

However, existing solutions don’t offer the right size and flexibility for IoT. Data center hypervisor code is too big, doesn’t offer safety-critical capabilities, and requires too much overhead for embedded development. Proprietary solutions are typically expensive and make it difficult to deliver long-term product support. Clearly the need for a reference open source hypervisor that meets the unique embedded development needs exists.

That’s why I am so excited to see ACRN™ announced today as a project by the Linux Foundation with significant code contributions from Intel. As I explained in my Embedded Linux Conference 2018 keynote this morning, ACRN is different than anything currently in market, by design. It provides a flexible, lightweight hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source, scalable reference platform.

Maybe the biggest news with ACRN’s hypervisor is that it’s small. Around 25,000 lines of code, small. This solution offers a lightweight code base designed for resource constrained devices. Equally important, I believe, it targets complex embedded systems requiring various levels of safety-criticality.

Rich virtualization of I/O mediators allows resource sharing to maximize the potential for IoT devices. Additionally, ACRN is built to address the need for real-time responses, with low latency and high adaptability. Together, these features encourage SoC consolidation to help reduce both development and materials cost. ACRN intends to further optimize safety considerations by isolating safety-critical workloads from other tasks.

Intel’s experience and leadership in virtualization technology was key to ACRN development. The project is now fully open source and code is available at We believe this approach will foster collaboration among industry leaders in embedded hypervisors, accelerating feature development and speeding the maturity of this important technology. Open source has the added benefits of helping ensure code transparency and compatibility and providing a high-quality reference stack, which in turn can allow faster time to market, as well as development and long-term support, as well as maintenance cost savings.

Because it’s built to virtualize embedded IoT development functions (think camera, audio, graphics, and others). ACRN is ideal for a broad range of IoT uses, such as automotive, industrial, and retail. We expect more companies to join in the coming weeks.

I invite you to visit to learn more about ACRN, download the code, and join the community discussion.

I look forward to hearing about your experience developing with ACRN.

The Linux Foundation Announces an Open Source Reference Hypervisor Project Designed for IoT Device Development

By Press

ACRN™ is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor with significant code contributions from Intel® Corporation

PORTLAND, Ore. (Embedded Linux Conference), March 13, 2018 – The Linux Foundation today announced a new embedded reference hypervisor project called ACRN™ (pronounced “acorn”). With engineering and code contributions from Intel® Corporation, the hypervisor was built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, and optimized to streamline embedded development. This project will provide a framework for industry leaders to build an open source embedded hypervisor specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT).

ACRN is comprised of two main components: the hypervisor and its device model, complete with rich I/O mediators. Intel’s experience and leadership in virtualization technology was key to the initial development of this hypervisor solution.

“With project ACRN, embedded developers have a new, immediately available hypervisor option,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. “ACRN’s optimization for resource-constrained devices and focus on isolating safety-critical workloads and giving them priority make the project applicable across many IoT use cases. We’re pleased to welcome project ACRN and invite embedded developers to get involved in the new community.”

Developers benefit from ACRN’s small, real-time footprint, which is flexible enough to accommodate different uses and provides consideration for safety-critical workloads. Consolidating a diverse set of IoT workloads with mixed-criticality on to a single platform helps reduce both development and deployment costs allowing for a more streamlined system architecture. An example of this is the electronic control unit (ECU) consolidation in automotive applications. While open source hypervisor options are available today, none share ACRN’s vision of an open source hypervisor solution optimized for embedded and IoT products.

“ACRN will have a Linux-based service OS and the ability to simultaneously run multiple types of guest operating systems providing a powerful solution for workload consolidation,” said Imad Sousou, corporate vice president and general manager of the Open Source Technology Center, at Intel® Corporation. “This new project delivers a flexible, lightweight hypervisor, designed to take real-time and safety-critical concerns into consideration and drive meaningful innovation for the IoT space.”

ACRN will incorporate input from the open source, embedded and IoT developer communities and encourages collaboration and code contributions to the project. Early ACRN project members include ADLINK®, Aptiv®, Intel® Corporation, LGE® and Neusoft® Corporation. To learn more about the project, visit


Supporting Quotes-

“The lack of open source virtualization solutions for embedded, real-time, and safety-critical systems has been greatly hindering consolidation and to some extent the most interesting forms of fog computing,” commented Angelo Corsaro, Chief Technology Officer of ADLINK Technology Inc. “The release of ACRN as a Linux Foundation project by Intel will be a game changer as it brings the agility and manageability of virtualized environments into embedded and real-time systems. This will be a key enabler toward making the Industrial Internet of Things happen for real.”

“This approach from Intel fits very well within our product roadmap and is a welcomed approach that will meet our customers’ desire to have more open source reference solutions,” said Lee Bauer, Vice President, Mobility Architecture Group of Aptiv. “Aptiv is excited to be a part of this new project, ACRN, and with it usher in a new era of flexibility and scalability for our mobility IoT product solutions.”

“Because ACRN will allow for faster feasibility checking of ECU consolidation, it will benefit our growing vehicle components business,” said Seongpyo Hong, Vice President of LG Electronics. “As a result, we will be able to respond more quickly to OEMs’ customized requirements and will continue to play a key role in contributing to the ACRN project.”

“As Intel’s strategic partner, Neusoft is pleased to join Intel in project ACRN,” said Meng Lingjun, Vice President of Neusoft Corporation and the General Manager of Neusoft Automotive. “ACRN has landed in China’s automotive electronics industry with practical implementation. I believe ACRN can meet the development requirements of IoT technology. We’re pleased to work with open source communities and introduce ACRN into the ecosystem.”


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