Crowd sourcing with QNX CAR ala BMW and Freescale

November 1, 2010

Last week QNX hosted its annual Japan Technology Innovation Conference at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. It was particularly special this year as we were able to celebrate the 30th anniversary of QNX along with our Japan customers.

We are pleased to report that this full day event which was supported by numerous partners was a resounding success. The conference this year records our largest attendance ever – 125 participants! With another 35 exhibiting partners & distributors, the venue was jam packed – as you can tell by the pictures.

A special mention goes out to the Freescale Japan team for the management and on-time delivery of teh live BMW x5 demo which went from car purchase to demo completion in a record 4 weeks! Even the Canadian Ambassador to Japan came by for a spin!

On behalf of the QNX Japan sales team, to all our partners who participated:

Arigato Gozaimashita!


An embedded picture is worth a thousand…huh?

May 20, 2010

I must admit, that as a philosophy major in a sea of engineers much of the technical detail about what we do at QNX gets lost on me. However one area who’s value is plain even for the likes of me to see is the impact of a well executed HMI on transforming user experience. The bar continues to rise on what constitutes great HMI design and with that both technologies, techniques for deployment and deployment process best practices are maturing at a rapid rate. Oh, and more than just a little artistic finesse is also helpful.

One such firm with a good mix of skills and know how that I’ve blogged about in the past is Teknision. We’ve been collaborating with Gabor Vida and the Teknision team now for more than a year on an exciting array of next generation embedded HMI’s and associated devices with medical, industrial, automotive and consumer application. And with an exciting year of customer launches ahead of us we thought it was time to take the veil off of some of the Teknision goodness that is enabling our customers to celebrate embedded HMI design success.

Please join QNX Software Systems and Teknision on May 27th for a webinar that examines some solid fundamentals behind good HMI design. We’ll explore how to connect the HMI to lower-level components in detail, showing how straightforward that can become with the right design in a complete soup-to-nuts implementation. Register here: http://www.techonline.com/learning/webinar/224700482


What’s faster – A QNX CAR or a Genivi?

August 24, 2009

I’m a little overdue in writing this but at a recent tradeshow we booked a meeting room. We had a parade of automotive Tier one suppliers, OEMs and partners come through the meeting room to see the latest on the QNX CAR reference platform.

What was different this time is while we were showing the latest integrations (Pandora, Chumby etc), we were also demoing the first Tier one implementation based on QNX CAR. The Tier one, who would prefer to remain nameless, allowed us to show off their fully featured mid-level infotainment unit prototype. They took QNX CAR, added their preferred navigation and speech recognition technology and customized the HMI. It was a very slick unit.

What’s the big deal you might ask. Tier ones develop prototype systems all the time?

This Tier one went from a standing start to a fully functional prototype in under four months. That’s what got everyone excited at the show. That’s what you can do with QNX CAR.

I wonder how long it would take if you tried to do this with Genivi?

Romain


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


Intel, BMW and QNX?

February 17, 2009

intel-car-21Intel asked me for a QNX logo to put on the outside of a car so I asked them for a picture of said car. This is a BMW with a Harman Becker infotainment system based on an Intel Atom hardware platform running QNX and our latest Aviage HMI and multimedia suite.

Obviously this car and the fact that QNX is in it, is not a secret. The irony for me is that two of the parties involved in this demo, Intel and BMW, supported a Wind River press release last May all about the next generation IVI stack they were developing on Linux. Its well over six months later and as far as I can tell, no one’s driving Linux around in a BMW.

QNX continues to push forward with products that are shipping today, way ahead of our competition. We really do put the show on the road.

by Linda Campbell


Black Ice, CES and the Future of Infotainment

January 20, 2009

One morning last week the traffic on the way to work was terrible. A commute that normally takes 25 minutes took well over an hour so I had some time to think about what I seen and heard at CES recently.  

 

I drive a 2001 BMW 3 series and when I bought it, it came with a high end radio and CD player.  The radio can display the name of the song playing at any given time – a truly innovative feature way back in 2001J.

 

 

bmw-radio2 

 

 

Fast forward to CES 2009 and now companies are providing voice recognition systems with natural language capabilities, media management, 3D navigation, off-board navigation with points of interest and other fascinating technology all aimed at making infotainment systems more and more useful and interactive. Companies are even working on remote update capabilities over wireless that will allow you to keep up to date with all the latest and greatest features.

 

All these nifty technologies create a bit of a problem for the automotive Tier 1s. People want them and the OEMs are specifying them for next generation head units. The Tier 1s are now faced with the daunting task of integrating many advanced features into their infotainment systems. This is a non-trivial undertaking and it gets worse with each new function added to the mix.

 

QNX has been listening. We went to CES to promote a vision to our ecosystem – a vision where we all work together to integrate our respective technologies and provide a unified platform to our customers. Our partners must have been hearing the same thing because they bought into the vision – lock, stock and barrel. 2009 will be an exciting year for all of us as we work towards executing on this platform.

 

So what does this have to do with black ice? The extremely cold weather we had last week caused ice to form on the roads. As you can imagine, that made driving pretty treacherous. There was a big accident on the highway and I spent 30 minutes trying to travel one kilometre.

 

Sometimes I take a slightly different route in the morning. If I had taken this alternate route, I would have avoided the traffic jam altogether. All I needed was someone on the radio to mention that the traffic was bad and I would have been fine. Somebody should invent something that helps people avoid traffic jams!

 

As it turns out, Telecommunication Systems, one of the partners I met at CES, does provide traffic information as part of their remote navigation offering. You actually get real time traffic data along with points of interest and other useful information all served up dynamically. If I had known about the traffic I would have taken the alternate route and saved myself half an hour. Of course I would have missed out on learning all the names of songs playing on my radio…


The iPOD, the Zune and Gracenote

December 30, 2008

 

It is probably obvious to everyone that the iPOD changed the world. Introduced in October 2001, over 150 million iPODs have been sold at last count and that number continues to grow rapidly. The Microsoft Zune, a relative newcomer, is also enjoying brisk sales. People are now able to take their music with them anywhere they go and listen whenever they want.

 

Automotive OEMs are reacting to the portable media phenomena and are providing connectivity for these devices into automotive head units. What was the exclusive domain of the aftermarket is now becoming mainstream. People can plug their iPODs, Zunes and even USB sticks into the car and play their music back over their car stereos.

 

Taking it one step further, we are starting to see cars with hard drives on-board. People can now download their music to their cars – turning them into giant portable media players on wheels.

 

images1

 

OK, well maybe that’s a stretch but portable media is definitely becoming a big part of the automotive experience going forward.

 

With several family members (and their friends) often sharing a single vehicle, a lot of content can find its way into the car. That content is likely to be pretty diverse and not everybody in the family necessarily likes everybody else’s taste in music. I like alt rock and jazz, my wife likes pop and my in-laws like country. Download all this content into the car and you run the risk of listening to music you can’t stand. Cruising along at 70 miles per hour, you can either put up with it or start fighting with your stereo to make it go away – a risky proposition.

It seems the ability to manage your content intelligently would be a good thing to add to the mix. Gracenote brings exactly this to the market. They provide the ability to organize and navigate large music collections. Gracenote software analyzes and recognizes tracks and organizes them by genre, by artist and even by album. With over 1600 pre-defined genres you can quickly narrow down the style of music you feel like listening to, even in the most eclectic of music collections.

 

One of the coolest features of their product is called “more like this”. The “more like this” command creates customized playlists based on the current song. Its not to far off the concept I described recently when I blogged about Pandora. The seed song is used as a starting point and Gracenote then builds a playlist. If you like what you hear, you can save the playlist and if you don’t, you can start again.

 

Like Pandora, they deliver not only the music but also all the metadata associated with the music. You can check out album art, lyrics, artist biographies and even album reviews – although you probably shouldn’t be reading album reviews on the freeway.

 

The QNX Gracenote solution will be on display in the Gracenote booth at CES. If you happen to be attending, stop by and have a look – and a listen.

Romain