Efficient delta based updates for read-only filesystem images : An applied study in how to efficiently update the software of an ECU

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: This thesis investigates a method for efficiently updating the software of an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) in a car. The patch sent to the car should be as small as possible and optimally only contained the changed part of the software. A popular algorithm for creating the patch is bsdiff. However, it is not made for filesystem images, but for binaries. Therefore, an alternative is investigated. The alternative algorithm method is based on the update engine in Android. A standalone version of the Android A/B Update is implemented and compared to bsdiff, in the aspect of the time it takes to generate the patch and the size of the patch. The result shows that bsdiff generates a slightly smaller patch. However, bsdiff is also a lot slower at generating the patch. Furthermore, the time increases linearithmic with the size of the filesystem image. This gives reason to believe that the Android A/B Update algorithm might be a better solution when updating an ECU that contains a full filesystem. However, this depends on if it is most valuable that the patch is as small as possible, or that the process of generating it is fast. 

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