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VSS: The Key to Standardize Automotive Innovation

Learn what is Vehicle Signal Specification (VSS) and how can it be implemented in practice?

Updated: September 28, 2023 5 mins read Published: September 26, 2023

What is the Vehicle Signal Specification?

COVESA’s Vehicle Signal Specification (VSS) is a protocol-agnostic approach for describing vehicle data in a standardized and extensible manner. Back in 2016, the idea behind VSS was to create an efficient foundation for delivering and receiving signals from inside and outside the vehicle using established web technologies. The long-term vision was to standardize vehicle data and make it easier for a wider range of developers to innovate in the automotive industry. Today, VSS is widely adopted among OEMs and technology companies as it ensures compatibility and consistency, making it an optimal framework for the connected vehicle ecosystem.

The Vehicle Signal Specification provides extensible data models and catalogs with industry-supported tooling. It offers a common understanding across the connected vehicle value chain, enabling improved interoperability and integration while saving time and money. In this way, it allows companies to focus on creating business value and differentiating their market solutions.

VSS introduces a domain taxonomy for vehicle signals, including:

  • A syntax for defining vehicle signals in a structured manner
  • A catalog of vehicle-related signals

VSS can be used as a common standard in automotive applications to communicate semantically defined information around the vehicle. It focuses on vehicle signals from sensors and actuators with raw data communicated over vehicle CAN buses and specific data associated with the infotainment system.

VSS implementation success case


Adam Konopa, Technology Director, Mobility at Intellias

Sergii Shcherbakov, Delivery Director, Head of Embedded & Automotive Unit at Intellias

Volodymyr Zavadko, Delivery Director, Head of Transportation Unit at Intellias

Valentyn Budkin, Delivery Manager, Mobility at Intellias

VSS: The Key to Standardize Automotive Innovation

As experts in mobility and data processing, the Intellias team has created an Automotive Portable Kit, or simply IntelliKit, to demonstrate the company’s capabilities from hardware and embedded/middleware software development to cloud integration and user interface (UI) design. Beyond displaying our expertise in automotive HMI solutions, IntelliKit is a statement of our dedication to providing best-in-class services to our partners and clients. Hands-on experience with the Intellias demo takes the idea of proof of concept to a new level.

A fully functional prototype is powered by the Renesas R-Car H3-based SoC with a Hypervisor-less solution featuring RTOS and Android OS for the Instrument Cluster (IC) and In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) components. The system boot time is just 300 milliseconds thanks to minimal dependence on booting Hypervisor and the Linux kernel. Two operating systems communicate with each other, sharing CAN messages and facilitating Android OS health checks through a virtual channel.

At the 15th Intelligent Transport Systems European Congress 2023 in Lisbon, Intellias presented the latest version of IntelliKit with integration of a custom business intelligence solution that enables connectivity between electric vehicles and a cloud or on-premises data warehouse.

Connectivity feature

VSS: The Key to Standardize Automotive Innovation

For the newly introduced connectivity feature and sensor data taxonomy, the Intellias team applied the fourth version of COVESA’s Vehicle Signal Specification (VSS) for data contracts, which enables alignment of sensor data across the digital cockpit and dashboards.

As of May 2023, VSS has gained widespread adoption and remains the anticipated fundamental reference for outlining a universally agreed method for data description in the automotive industry. Several vendors have demonstrated execution of the VSS taxonomy standard as part of their solutions:

  • Amazon Fleetwise – Accumulates, modifies, and transmits vehicle data to the cloud with minimal delay
  • Blackberry IVY – A scalable, cloud-enabled embedded software platform that provides automakers with a consistent and secure way to read, normalize, and generate insights from vehicle sensor data
  • Sonatus – In-vehicle infrastructure solutions for data management
  • RTI Context – A data-focused communications framework

With these new connectivity features, IntelliKit receives the ability to gather data and display vehicle statistics on the web dashboard.

VSS: The Key to Standardize Automotive Innovation

The dashboard prototype is created by applying widely adopted technologies such as:

  • Amazon Web Services
  • NodeJS
  • Amazon RDS
  • AngularJS
  • Android OS

Systems integration is implemented with the help of the JSON format over REST API. It enables easy system integration and the ability to expand functionality of both the IntelliKit and Dashboard applications.

VSS benefits and applications across multiple industries

VSS presents significant opportunities for new business models and value-added services. It defines a common data model for vehicle signals, sensors, actuators, and attributes. Existing data generated from connected vehicles at a large scale creates hard-to-operate silos, entailing complex integration and interoperability issues. For OEMs and automotive solution providers, this inconsistency costs an incredible amount of time and money, lowers quality, and limits integration possibilities of connected vehicles.

To mitigate expenses, facilitate growth, and introduce new business models, these data silos must be structured and unified by open standards. This enables industry collaborations based on effective data exchange and leads to a common understanding of vehicle data across the connected vehicle value chain. In these circumstances, VSS offers multiple benefits to different players within the automotive, transportation, and mobility space.

  • Interoperability: VSS ensures seamless communication among diverse vehicles, infrastructure, and devices, no matter the brand or technology. For example, the collected signal for speed from different vehicles might vary across car models or OEMs. Applying the VSS standard, this signal is uniformly labeled as “Vehicle Speed,” enabling consistent data access.
  • Operational efficiency: VSS empowers OEMs and their solution providers to establish and deploy a single data collection policy, independent of model or brand.
  • Enhanced Safety: By employing VSS, vehicles can exchange data on their location, speed, and movement in a brand-neutral manner, enabling other vehicles and infrastructure to respond predictably.
  • Innovation: VSS empowers application developers to craft inventive, brand-agnostic applications using shared standards.
  • Cost reduction: Being independent from attribute naming, OEM, and vehicle model, VSS can improve software reusability and versatility, resulting in lower development costs.
  • Scalability: VSS supports vertical integration and cloud scalability, encourages software/tool sharing, simplifies data aggregation and refinement, improves large-scale analytics, and facilitates code reuse.
  • Accelerated time to market: VSS enables swift product iterations, highly adaptable solutions, streamlined software testing and evaluation, and diminished vendor dependence. It also empowers real-time consumer personalization.

As a result, implementing the VSS protocol at a large scale creates additional value streams for OEMs. Standardized data can be applicable to other industries including insurance, finance, and retail as vehicles become information platforms that drive future sales growth. This approach to vehicle data creates a vibrant ecosystem with lower entry hurdles for new players, fostering the innovation of automotive, transportation, and mobility products.

Intellias has practical experience working with VSS, applying its scalability and reusability advantages to our Portable Automotive Kit. We are enthusiastic about contributing to adoption of the VSS standard and showcasing its extensive possibilities to a wider market. Contact us for more details on VSS and its features.

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