In the immediate future we shall witness the next big phase of technology convergence of Automotive Industry with Information technology around epicenter of ‘Connectivity’. There are several reasons for this revolutionary fusion. The first one being: exponential rise in consumer demand. Connectivity on the road is not a luxury anymore for our internet savvy generation; who would be 40% of new automobile users. They are expecting more than just in vehicle GPS navigation. Some developed countries are mandating potential safety features like DSRC on Wi-Fi, 360 degree NLOS, V2V exchange info etc., to reduce the number of accidents and casualties. Inclusion of these safety features on the dashboard is another reason why IVI systems and solutions are the current hottest sell in automotive industry. With these triggering points, automobile manufacturers are now bridging the gap between non IVI technologies and existing dashboards solutions.
The current dashboard solutions are provided by software giants Apple and Google who are very well ahead in providing SDKs for IVI solutions. A few other companies also demonstrated dashboards in CES 2015 with IVI solutions, but Android Auto have got the world’s attention with their adaptability, portability and expandability for various car market segments. Market experts are predicting the key IVI solutions would definitely be Android Auto. These current IVI solutions are only the beginning of a fast evolving technology.
The experts are forecasting the evolution in IVI features is based on maturity of architecture. In primary phase, Smartphone attached dashboard models using connectivity models like USB and Bluetooth continue to be widely used. By 2017, around 60% vehicles are expected to get connected by smartphones. The reuse of smartphone computation power and mobile integrated technologies like telephony, Multimedia, GPS, storage, power management and voice based systems would be in focus. Following next is the progression in direction of connecting beyond car. The conjunction with IoT and cloud technologies would lead involvement of ecosystems like OEM services, HealthCare, education, smart energy systems. Further into future, external control and integration of car ecosystem would be possible including On Board Diagnostics (OBD) systems, usage of SoC for smarter, reliable and better performing features on dashboard, augmented reality and many more options.
The current IVI systems’ architecture is designed to be flexible in adapting future upgrades (such as changing your Mobile phone model, upgrade of OS etc.). IVI solution core can be broadly divided into three categories: Hardware, underlying Operating System and User experience enhancing applications. The architecture mainly constitutes of horizontal and vertical layers.
- Proprietary protocols.
- Multimedia rendering solutions.
- Core stack
- Security and UI
- Security Module
Proprietary Portable Protocols are rudiments of IVI connectivity modules and the UI development of IVI head units can be deployed with core engines of Java, Qt, and Gtk. For user connectivity and a better User experience Wi-Fi, LBTE, advance HMI, OBD tools and protocols help, which are still under development.
From a car manufacturer’s point of view centralized upgradable dashboard with all IVI solutions and distinct non IVI technologies integrated would be the prime factor in choosing a car. Here the middleware of dash board needs to play crucial support, integration for multiple IVI solutions providing device independence experience. The flexibility in amending the upcoming IVI technology like data interfaces for application developers are also deciding factors.
Although IVI core solutions are fundamental differentiating factors for end user, car OEMs need satisfactory single roof vendor owning expertise in various IVI, non IVI technologies including system architecture, OS development, protocol, hardware acquaintance and applications. Pathpartner, a product engineering service provider for Automotive Embedded Systems, embraces all these requirements very well. PathPartner with visionary leadership has already crossed the threshold into Automotive Infotainment industry, with a strong business model, which comprise of development activities like porting on multiple platforms such as Freescale, Texas Instruments on infotainment systems based on Android, Linux, and QNX, customized middleware for Android Auto, MirrorLink.
We at PathPartner, with a dedicated team of engineers equipped with niche expertise in embedded products, successfully delivered the certified applications from platforms such as iOS and Windows and continue to work on other IVI solutions for renowned OEM’s.