Elektrobit Continuously Innovates, Integrates Cutting-edge Technologies: Maria Anhalt

T Murrali
22 May 2024
07:00 AM
5 Min Read

We refine the software to make it 70% smaller than its standard enterprise version, optimising it for easier adoption by automotive companies.


Maria Anhalt is the Chief Executive Officer at Elektrobit, leading an international team focused on providing car makers with software that transforms mobility, drives sustainability, and enables a more interactive and intuitive driving experience.

Previously, she was Elektrobit’s CTO, and prior to that, served for two years as Senior Vice President, Head of Cross Divisional Systems and Technology, at Continental. Earlier in her career, she worked at HP.

How does EB corbos Linux for Safety Applications reconcile the often-conflicting demands of rapid innovation and stringent safety regulations?

Innovation is a critical success factor for any industry, and as Steve Jobs once said, 'Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.' This holds especially true in dynamic sectors like the automotive industry, where innovation and speed are essential to capitalise on emerging opportunities. Open-source software supports this rapid development and deployment.

With over 15 years of experience in open-source software, our contributions to this community might surprise many. We've been developing Android-based systems for over a decade and maintain a deep partnership with Google. When necessary, we enhance existing open-source offerings by coding solutions upstream.

Last year, we launched Ankaios, a software designed for container management within open source, and made it available through the Eclipse Foundation. This initiative underscores our understanding of open-source dynamics: both contributing to and benefiting from it.

Our approach to innovation and speed involves leveraging established enterprise open-source systems industry-wide, like Linux. When I joined Elektrobit four years ago, the company had its own Linux derivative. I discontinued it because it made little sense to duplicate efforts already well addressed by others. Instead, we now integrate and refine existing Linux derivatives from leaders like Canonical, Red Hat, and SUSE, adding our proprietary automotive insights to deliver tailored, market-ready solutions.

Consequently, we introduced QM Linux last spring, a robust offering based on Ubuntu and Canonical's enterprise systems, tailored for embedded software applications in the automotive sector.

What distinguishes Elektrobit's approach, and what role does the company play?

At Elektrobit, we focus on rigorous testing, validation, security processes, and obtaining necessary certifications. We refine the software to make it 70% smaller than its standard enterprise version, optimising it for easier adoption by automotive companies. Furthermore, we offer an unprecedented 15 years of maintenance support. Our cloud-based tools ensure that the product is not only ready to use but also meets the high expectations of the industry. This approach has proven successful, generating a pipeline of over 100 million since last year and attracting significant interest.


Recently, we launched a safety version of our product in Beijing, which received a technical assessment from TÜV Nord in Germany. This certification enables customers to implement the software in safety-critical systems—a milestone that took the industry 10 to 15 years to achieve, with Elektrobit leading the way. The software's broad acceptance eliminates the need for re-implementation, leveraging the abundant talent familiar with this software compared to those specialised in traditional embedded systems.

Last year you introduced QM Linux, and now you've launched EB corbos for Linux. What's the difference between the two?

Last year, we launched EB corbos Linux, based on Ubuntu, which is designed for general Linux applications that do not require safety certifications. Our latest product is tailored specifically for safety-critical applications. This new version enhances functionality to meet the stringent requirements of safety applications, thereby extending our Linux offerings into more critical usage scenarios.

In a recent LinkedIn post, you mentioned that using open-source software (OSS) has saved businesses approximately $8.8 trillion in development costs. Could you explain how this figure was derived?

This figure originates from a study conducted by Harvard Business School. Their research suggests that without open-source software, companies would have spent an estimated 3.5 folds more on developing the software and platforms essential for their operations, amounting to roughly $8.8 trillion across various industries. This highlights two critical aspects: firstly, the pivotal role of open-source systems and their extensive integration across sectors. Secondly, it underscores the foundational nature of open-source products, which many companies globally rely on to build and expand their technological infrastructures. This is particularly significant for the automotive and mobility sectors. Open-source software not only offers cost efficiencies but also comes with established quality, having been tested and proven across numerous scenarios in different industries. At Elektrobit, we leverage our automotive expertise to enhance these solutions with necessary safety certifications, ensuring they meet the stringent requirements of entire vehicle systems. This strategic use of open-source allows us to build robust, cost-effective, reliable, automotive-grade solutions.

How does Elektrobit manage zero-day vulnerabilities in open-source software?

At Elektrobit, addressing zero-day vulnerabilities begins with a proactive approach. We dedicate substantial resources to comprehensive testing, validation, and long-term reliability assessments, which include robustness, networking, persistence, and memory usage, alongside built-in security features. This thorough vetting process ensures we promptly identify and rectify security issues.

Moreover, in line with industry-best security practices, we maintain a policy of immediate transparency with our customers about defects. Unlike some proprietary solutions that may delay disclosure, we prioritise rapid response. When a zero-day vulnerability is identified, we swiftly inform our customers and provide detailed updates throughout the verification and validation process. This approach ensures that our customers can quickly and effectively mitigate risks associated with these vulnerabilities.


Looking ahead, what innovations can we expect from Elektrobit?

Elektrobit has been a pioneer in automotive technology for 35 years, not only advancing research but also integrating innovations directly into vehicles on the road as part of the evolving mobility ecosystem. I will highlight three key innovations to illustrate our direction: Firstly, our recent advancements in Linux for safety applications demonstrate our commitment to enhancing vehicle safety through technology. Secondly, at CES in the US, we showcased how generative AI, specifically our GenAI technology, can revolutionise cockpit functionalities. This innovation allows for more dynamic and responsive user interactions within the vehicle environment.

At Hannover Messe, we introduced our integration with Google Cloud's Gemini AI agent engine, showcasing our capability to embed sophisticated AI toolkits that enhance the cockpit experience.

Locally, our team has made significant strides in lifecycle management. Recognising that vehicles are long-term investments, often kept for up to 15 years, we focus on the ongoing value software can bring. Our software update management system, which is nearly production-ready, resembles an App Store experience not just for infotainment systems but for the entire vehicle. This system handles the complex dependencies of vehicle software, ensuring continuous updates and improvements across the vehicle's life.

These examples reflect our continuous effort to innovate and integrate cutting-edge technology into the automotive sector, shaping the future of mobility.

What are the initiatives taken to improve Elektrobit's business prospects?

To enhance Elektrobit's business prospects, we are implementing several strategic initiatives. Locally, particularly in the Indian market, we apply our global expertise to enhance our 'local for local' approach. This strategy not only supports but also strengthens the local ecosystem by tailoring our offerings to meet specific regional needs.

On a global scale, we are expanding our reach beyond the automotive industry to include adjacent sectors such as commercial vehicles, two-wheelers, and railways. We have already begun seeing interest from railway operators. This approach not only diversifies our business but also allows us to leverage our advanced software systems in new and expanding markets.

Also Read:

Elektrobit Unveils EB corbos Linux To Augment Advanced Automotive Functions

Elektrobit Launches EB zoneo GatewayCore with Infineon’s AURIX TC4x

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