Standards are going to play a significant role in the evolution of automotive connectivity. There will be plenty of flux in the specifications used for the U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) IntelliDrive program, for telematics, and other wireless links, which may help drive a push to new standards in the modules that link cars to the outside world.
Myriad inputs will be handled by radio head units and dedicated telematics/communications modules that will bring in data from the outside world. Automakers and Tier 1 suppliers seem to be adopting standards that will make it simpler for them to develop communication modules that will sometimes be merged into radio head units.
Genivi may become one of the middleware specifications that helps engineers create infotainment and communication modules. The software, based on open-source programs, provides common interfaces that simplify designs and yield equipment that can be used by different automakers.
“Genivi’s software stack lets Tier 1s meet OEM needs much faster,” said Joel Hoffman, Chair of the Genivi Alliance Marketing Committee.
The group, formed last year, demonstrated reference designs at the Consumer Electronics Show early this year. With nearly 50 members that include automakers as well as hardware and software providers throughout the supply chain, the Alliance has seen solidly expanding support.
Communication specialists Cisco and Nokia have joined a group that includes BMW, Delphi, General Motors, Intel, Magneti Marelli, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Visteon, and Renault.
When automakers eventually start to adopt the IntelliDrive technology now under development, Genivi may speed up the deployment.
“IntelliDrive could benefit from a subset of the Genivi platform, a wireless abstraction is an inherent part of Genivi,” said Hoffman, who’s also strategic Marketing Development Manager for Intel’s Embedded Computing Group.
He noted that telematics could also benefit from Genivi, though the specification addresses broader infotainment platforms. Those platforms, typically radio head units, are likely to swallow up telematics subsystems over time as they become the nexus of incoming wireless signals and human machine interfaces. A major benefit of using common software like Genivi is the reduced cost that comes from using a single design instead of separate programs for various makes and models.
“Suppliers write software for safety, consumer products, convenience, and other applications, but today they will have so many separate pieces that the maintenance and support costs will eventually be astronomical,” Hoffman said.