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!

QNX CAR and the Freescale i.MX51

March 17, 2010

On March 15th the latest experimental i.MX51 BSP was posted on Foundry27. If you are interested you can grab it here

A BSP in itself may not be newsworthy (or worth blogging about) but the i.MX51 is a bit special in that it will be the newest platform for QNX CAR. The i.MX51 is a particularly nice fit for QNX CAR for a few reasons. First and foremost this is a part that is garnering a lot of customer interest in automotive. Customers have been pushing us to get this BSP out the door.

Another nice thing about the i.MX51 is the graphics acceleration. The i.MX35 is a great platform for QNX CAR because it includes OpenVG acceleration. Adobe Flash takes advantage of this acceleration and the QNX Aviage HMI Suite used in QNX CAR is Adobe Flash based. The i.MX51 builds on this by adding OpenGL ES acceleration so customers will be able to accelerate 3D graphics as well (think navigation). Add hardware video decode and you have a very nice part for next generation infotainment systems.

Watch for it in the M6 QNX CAR build – coming soon.

Smart Products Require Smart Partnerships

March 14, 2010

Last week we released a PR about our partnership with Texas Instruments to enable adopters of the QNX CAR reference design and development program with the OMAP3530 and J3 (AM3517) platforms. Combined with the OMAP3730 the three parts are proving to be an effective go to market roadmap for development from prototype to production of infotainment and digital instruments cluster designs. Customers have been demonstrating good success, for more than a year,  with adopting the low cost OMAP3530 Beagle board for early stage development while planning for release on this or other parts in the portfolio.

Apropos, our PR was picked up by Hans Lewis of TMCnet as supporting content for their Smart Products Ecosystem Conference and web portal.

Working with partners like TI who understand the need to closely collaborate at enabling customers is key to our future success and the success of the QNX CAR program. To learn more about how customers are using the QNX CAR reference platform and Texas Instruments OMAP and other ARM processors to rapidly develop their automotive infotainment platforms visit here

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?


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.



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 ( 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…



Ecosystem Opportunities in Automotive – QNX at CVTA

December 17, 2008

cvtaheader311Recently, the Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA) invited me to participate in a panel on emerging opportunities in the automotive ecosystem. Here’s the summary on the perspective I shared. I’ve included an elevator-pitch on QNX – so skip the first paragraph if you already know us.

We are a leading supplier of embedded software for in-car systems – including the operating system, middleware, and graphics – essentially everything you need to build open application platforms or closed purpose-built devices. Our customers are the tier ones building a variety of in-vehicle solutions deployed by car companies. These systems include telematics, infotainment, navigation, handsfree, connectivity modules and digital instrument clusters. (You typically find QNX products in the cab versus under the hood.) We’re production proven, shipping in over 7.4 million vehicles on a world wide basis.

Our perspective – everything is changing as the vision of the connected car becomes a reality. This will involve a massive transition and while having a pipe to the vehicle will solve a lot of problems, it will create a few as well. Connectivity to the cloud will involve a bit of complexity. And with complexity comes opportunity.

From our device-centric perspective, we see a new class of ecosystem developing – one that is all about the internet and enabling internet-based applications and services. But we don’t believe this will replace the existing embedded or onboard ecosystems. Rather, the new in-car solutions will be a hybrid of the embedded and internet experience – marrying onboard and offboard applications in a common platform. Connectivity enhances the in-car experience but does not ultimately change the nature of the system around safety, reliability, and persistence.

We think opportunities will exist for traditional embedded players, the internet ecosystem, and the companies that can deliver the internet experience in an embedded or auto-centric “package”.

Another area of opportunity lies in system partitioning. In-car systems are becoming increasingly complex and the variety of applications continues to increase. We see our customers struggling with decisions on what should run where. Do they put Bluetooth on the head unit, on a connectivity module in the dash, a gateway in the trunk or all three? What applications or portions of applications need to reside locally onboard versus remotely as offboard services?How do you integrate several systems and retain separate development silos?

The companies that find the right balance and manage the complexity of delivering applications and services safely without compromising user experience will win – whether they deploy a single box hosting all applications or a network of devices with applications partitioned across the various nodes in that vehicle network.

Finally, in the short term, we see an increased demand for services – our customers and their customers face increasing complexity, reduced resourcing, shorter times to market, and the need to adapt to and adopt new technologies (within an automotive life cycle). Companies that can help the tier ones and OEMs do this will ultimately be successful, so a services play is definitely in order.

Coincidentally, we think that QNX and our ecosystem partners in both the embedded and internet spaces are in a position to take advantage of the opportunities presented!

Written and presented by Linda Campbell (with input from Andrew Poliak & Andy Gryc)