QNX tackles legal, technical aspects of infotainment design

  • 16-Mar-2009 03:53 EDT
Modules within QNX Car let engineers bring in different infotainment options quickly without worrying about licensing each separate consumer product’s software.

Offering the right mix of infotainment options to meet rapidly changing consumer tastes will be a major challenge for design engineers and marketers for years. QNX Software Systems aims to help them get designs to market quickly, offering reference designs, preliminary licensing agreements, and modular software.

The QNX Car platform packages a number of software modules together with licensing agreements that lets engineers work with proprietary software without going through the hassle of arranging legal agreements. Developers can also trim costs, paying for software only when designs go into production.

Licensing agreements are becoming more of an issue as head-unit designs must include links for proprietary MP3 players and other consumer products. QNX has reduced the impact of these legal requirements.

“Engineers can authenticate their designs without going to Apple, Microsoft, or others. They don’t have to make hard legal decisions up front,” said Andy Gryc, Automotive Product Marketing Manager at QNX.

The platform employs the popular modular approach, which helps engineers pick packaged pieces of software that work in the same environment. QNX also provides reference designs that show how these pieces fit together.

“A lot of the design boils down to combining building blocks like acoustic echo canceling, graphics frameworks, and media players,” said Andrew Poliak, QNX’s Worldwide Auto Sales Director. “We have integrated components so OEMs can do their own systems or Tier 1s can get to market more quickly.”

That helps OEMs concentrate on aspects that are critical for their customers. “The framework solves many of the integration issues in a final production system and enables Volkswagen application designers to focus on the core navigation product and HMI (human machine interface) features,” said Jonathan Lee, Senior Engineer, Volkswagen Group of America Electronics Research Laboratory.

QNX Car makes it easier for engineers to develop the look of a display or HMI using one program and move it to the target system without inducing bugs. The Canadian software supplier, owned by Harman International, partitions sections within memory and CPU so conflicts don’t arise.

“We’ve done a lot with Adobe Flash so OEMs can develop content in Flash and drop it onto the target without worrying that bugs will roll over,” Poliak said.

The platform addresses the many aspects of interactive navigation and Internet connectivity. QNX Car is designed to run on a range of automotive processors made by Freescale, Renesas, Texas Instruments, Nvidia, Fujitsu, Intel, and others. QNX said its software technology runs on more than 10.1 million vehicles worldwide.

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