Genivi and automotive platforms

March 24, 2009

 

At Cebit, QNX, Microsoft and Genivi all revealed their visions for a common automotive reference platform that would cut costs, accelerate time to market, reduce costs and just make the world a better place. I won’t take the time to review each offering in detail as there has already been a fair bit of coverage from the media.   

 

 

In these articles, one thing struck me as particularly interesting. People are now identifying software as the single most important element in automotive systems going forward. I agree wholeheartedly. I spend a lot of my time lining up third party software vendors to meet the myriad requirements demanded by OEMs for upcoming model years.  It is no trivial task. Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, points of interest, remote update, internet radio, multi-media, device connectivity, speech recognition – the list goes on and on. Thankfully there are software companies that specialize in each of these areas.

 

The notion of a common automotive reference platform comes up a lot these days, even more so since the economy tanked and everyone has to do more with less. Ideally the vendors serving each of these very different areas would work cooperatively to shoulder the burden of integration and testing – a consortium of like minded industry players coming together to build something that could be used by all. A truly open, standards-based organization where the ultimate output would allow the automotive industry to choose exactly what functionality, features and vendors it wanted to work with. That’s very powerful stuff.

 

Genivi is a consortium that is being driven by a handful of automotive Tier ones and a couple of OEMs but only one silicon vendor and one software vendor. There is only one software vendor in the consortium today. My understanding of automotive requirements suggests that even a huge software giant couldn’t possibly hope to address everything needed, even if they had the next 50 years to get it done. I guess that’s where this community they talk about will have to help a lot.

 

I’m not suggesting that QNX CAR is the perfect solution either but at least it does encompass a rapidly growing number of software vendors and offers support for all the major automotive silicon choices out there today.  It is not a standard, per se, although the underlying operating system is POSIX compliant and brings the benefit of providing a standard API. It is open to pretty much everyone and its goal is to provide a set of pre-integrated, auto hardened technologies under a business model that promotes its use for prototyping and product development.

 

Now to be fair, I don’t actually know a lot about the details of how Genivi plans to roll out their platform. I’m not invited.

 

Romain

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Crackberry gathering at Embedded World

March 20, 2009

 

I remember the days when we met in the lobby bar for drinks. 

crackberry1


Freescale i.mx based solutions for QNX from an expert!

March 10, 2009
imx31_board_for_ms_c1
A big warm welcome to Icytecture, a new venture co-founded by Boris Bobrov and Yossi Har-Nov, the latest members of the QNX Partner Network. Icytecture is a system integration house that specializes in i.mx and QNX based solutions. Their services include hardware and software design, mechanical design, integration, application development, and turnkey systems.

Yossi comes from Novtech, a company he founded that specialized in hardware and mechanical design. And Boris knows the i.mx inside and out from his time at Freescale. Boris saw the natural synergy between our rich i.mx BSP portfolio and Icytecture’s product roadmap of i.mx based hardware. His first platform is just coming out, it’s based on an i.mx31 and can be customized or ordered and deployed in its current form. Rumour has it that an i.mx35 based system is just around the corner.

And while they may be new to our ecosystem, they’re already doing the things that we consider best practices for a new partner – they spent a week in a QNX training course here in Kanata, they’re committed to writing and supporting their own BSP, and they introduced us to a new customer. (What more can you ask for?)

There is more…. they’ve agreed to post their BSP on Foundry 27 when its ready. We’re expecting to see it within the next few weeks. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

If you’d like to find out more about Icytecture, please send an email to boris@icytecture.com 

And if you’re a partner and you’d like to find out more about training, BSP development or Foundry 27, feel free to leave us a comment or send email to partners@qnx.com

By Linda Campbell


QNX CAR – the start of something big

March 2, 2009

When I got back from CES earlier this year I mentioned that one of my goals at the show was to share the QNX CAR vision. I saw a lot of nodding heads when I described a model where QNX and select members of its ecosystem could work together to pre-integrate our respective technologies. I saw a lot of eyes light up when I described an engagement model where automotive Tier oness and OEMs could leverage this pre-integration to get started on their designs.

 

On the 24th of February, QNX formally launched the QNX CAR program. If you visit the new page (www.qnxcar.com) you can get lots more information on the program, how it works and what’s available for round one. You will also see an image of a bunch of lego blocks and a slick sports car. This graphic really distills the essence of the QNX CAR program.

 

Historically software and silicon vendors selling into automotive have worked loosely together and have left the task of integration to the Tier one. We have all been guilty of selling a bunch of lego that can be fit together somehow but have never provided the instructions on how to build the final product. QNX CAR changes that in several ways.

 

By working together to pre-integrate technology into the QNX CAR environment, QNX and its ecosystem are jumpstarting our collective customers’ designs. They can now bypass the initial integration work and focus on higher level, value added development. We are finally providing the instructions on how the lego fits together.

 

This alone would be pretty cool but we have also been working with our partners to sort out the initial licensing. Under QNX CAR, evaluation of 3rd party technology no longer involves working with every company involved. Customers can engage directly with QNX to get their hands on all the bits and pieces involved. It’s simple, straight forward and easy. 

 

Add to this that the program is available at no charge and that QNX silicon partners are throwing hardware into the mix. For the first time ever, developers can get started on their prototyping just by being accepted to the program. That’s it. That’s all.

 

All this brings me to the point I raised in the title. This is just the beginning. On March 12th the QNX CAR Foundry27 project will go live and participants will be able to access the first wave of third party technology along with QNX middleware.

 

You can be sure that this is only the start. We’ve been working with a longer list of partners around all sorts of technology. Check out the Foundry27 project on the 12th but come back soon. You’ll see a growing list of technologies spanning 2D/3D nav, city view, remote over the air software updates, points of interest and more. Exciting times…

 

Romain