In-Vehicle Infotainment systems – report from CES and CeBit 2013

Two big ICT events took place recently. The first of these, Consumer Electronics Show (or simply CES), took place in Las Vegas in January 2013. CES is a major technology-related trade show at which many new consumer electronic products and technologies are announced. The second big event was CeBit (ger. Centrum für Büroautomation, Informationstechnologie und Telekommunikation) which is one of the largest computer expos. It was hosted by Hanover fairground in Germany, March 5-9 |2013.

Zylia – one of the Carmesh partners – had the opportunity to participate in both events. We were particularly interested in activities related to automotive and In-Vehicle Infotainment systems (IVI). IVI systems are evolving rapidly with an impressive mix of audio and video capabilities, navigation functions and speech recognition. They also relate to the automotive service platform work we are doing within Carmesh.

Of the two shows, CES was the more interesting from an automotive perspective. A large amount of new IVI systems were presented, including systems from Ford, Audi, Toyota, GM, QNX, Audi and Intel. As safety is a paramount concern in vehicular systems, there was a clear trend towards voice support for IVI systems. Examples include:

  • Ford SYNC@ – Ford presented voice recognition system which can control IVI applications as well as applications running on the drivers smartphone. Speech recognition is built on top of Nuance technology. Moreover, Ford announced that it is opening its Sync AppLink platform to application developers at no cost by creating the Ford Developer Program (https://developer.ford.com/).
  • GM presented a voice recognition system which is integrated with their My Link IVI system. It is also the first car manufacturer which has integrated Apple’s Siri Eyes Free technology within a car dashboard. The driver pushes a button on the wheel to activate Siri mode. Then GM My Link IVI communicate with driver IPhone/IPad. This technology works reasonably well.   However, since Siri is dependent on the Internet connection, the question is how reliable will be such system in real usage.
  • Hyundai also demonstrated the integration of Siri within their IVI.

Other interesting points relating to IVI developments include:

  • Chrysler’s UConnect – besides IVI functionality (audio streaming, etc) the system is also able to gather statistics about a car.
  • Verizon and a few smaller companies presented systems for tracking and measuring different car parameters.
  • Audi presented a new IVI system based on NVidia Tegra processor.
  • QNX announced their new Car Platform 2.0. An essential aspect of this new platform is strong HTML5 support. QNX are taking the view that the app ecosystem will comprise of HTML5 based apps, rather than based on some native technologies.

The general impression about future IVI development is that the focus is right now on bringing media streams into the car, including radio, games, multimedia, video conferencing etc. Music streaming is a key use case which many focused on. It seems that car manufactures are interested in embedding new applications within the car which the drivers already have on its mobile phones. However, development of this kind of functionality already started. Our CARMESH team is also interested in this kind of initiatives, because it is related to our CARMESH service platform. Especially, we would like to provide web based infotainment services (multimedia streaming, voice support, news) based on the actual and predicted user’s context.

Unlike CES, CeBit was a bit disappointing from the point of view of showcasing new automotive systems. While there were quite a few companies which presented car tracking and telematics systems, not many were presenting highly innovative new technologies. One positive surprise, which resonated with us, was a Polish company, Open-RnD, which presented their collaboration with Arynga, the owner of CarSync product.

Open-RnD developed a CarSync™ for Arynga. The CarSync™ system which is a customizable configuration management framework that provides OEMs and Tier 1s with a complete solution for performing remote, over-the-air updates and configuration management of firmware, embedded software and applications running on electronic control units, infotainment systems and other devices within the car. Their technology was demonstrated on top of the Intel Tizen IVI system.

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As Arynga is active within the GENIVI alliance therefore, it is likely that this interesting technology will be a part of future update of the GENIVI platform.

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One thought on “In-Vehicle Infotainment systems – report from CES and CeBit 2013

  1. Pingback: Is Automotive Cloud a game changer for the auto industry? | FP7 Carmesh: The Blog

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