Author: Prabha B V, Lead Technical Architect, Architecture and Design for In-Vehicle Infotainment Projects, Elektrobit
Today we cannot imagine driving a vehicle without Infotainment. In Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) has become ubiquitous in the developed markets and is fast becoming ubiquitous in the developing markets.
IVI has undergone a tremendous transformation since 1930’s when Motorola introduced the first AM radio fitted inside the car. The major factors for this transformation are:- 1) Increase in the average time spent inside the car everyday 2) Consumers demand for entertainment, safety, security, convenience and consistent user experience across different channels; 3) Revolution in the adjacent consumer electronics industry especially smart phones; 4) Regulatory and legal requirements.
Over the years the buying pattern of the consumer has also undergone tremendous shift. From taking buying decisions based on the power delivered by the vehicle and the exterior look of the vehicle to now based on the overall experience delivered by the vehicle.
All these changes are fast transforming the vehicle to become the third living space where the occupants will enjoy spending time in a safe, secure and convenient environment coupled with entertainment.
Evolution of IVI
Technology has played a pivotal role in this evolution. Technology has also evolved leaps and bounds in the past 9 decades. To understand how the technology has evolved, let us look at the below two illustrations.
The below diagram illustrates software architecture of a simple infotainment system with CD player support:
Over the years, with constant demand for new feature additions, the complexity of the infotainment system has also increased enormously. The below diagram (Automotive Android) illustrates the new generation software architecture that help cater the new generation feature set:
- Smart Digital cockpit –Improved digital cockpit experience for drivers, passengers enabled via multi modal user experience which gives a higher degree of personalization
- Artificial intelligence – Collecting, analyzing and making inferences to present appropriate and personalized information to the driver
- Heads up display – Presenting meaningful information of the inside and outside environment of the vehicle, on a heads-up display, to the driver to assist the driver therefore making the drive safer
- In-vehicle health – Monitoring the driver’s health and taking appropriate actions in case of risky or emergency situations. Additionally, monitoring driver for any distractions and triggering alerts
- Multi-modal user interaction – Multiple ways of user interaction with the infotainment system such as touch, gesture, voice, eye movement
- Improved ADAS as a Step towards an Autonomous Future – Features such as lane departure warning, blindspot warning, emergency braking will assist the driver to function efficiently
- In-Car Commerce and On-Demand Connected Car Services – New apps in OEM’s Appstore enables drivers to place advance drive-thru orders with selected retailers, pay for fuel, make hotel and dinner reservations. In-dashboard access roadside assistance is another highly requested feature. Such connected apps can gauge data from the vehicle and transmit it to the maintenance team so that they could arrive well-prepared.
How Technology is enabling the market trends
The market trends warrant the need for a powerful, high speed, hardware agnostic E/E architecture which is scalable. The above diagram illustrates the Adaptive autosar architecture on top of a high-performance computer. The usage of powerful high-performance processors provide the flexibility to host a wide range of applications (running on different operating systems) on it through the use of Hypervisor.
Adaptive AUTOSAR is standardization of the AUTOSAR runtime for Adaptive Applications (ARA). This architecture can be used to implement functionalities like autonomous driving, over-the-air software updates, IoT (Internet of Things) features, media streaming and other services in the future cars. The important highlight of the Adaptive platform is that it allows dynamic linking of services and clients during ECU runtime which makes it much more flexible for the application developers. Platform also utilizes C++14 to allow feature rich and fast development of ARA applications.
The above diagram shows different parts of AUTOSAR Adaptive platform. You can find the specification documents of each different software module in the AUTOSARweb page (https://www.autosar.org/standards/adaptive-platform/adaptive-platform-1803/).
To realize the market trends, the services/ components illustrated in the above diagram serve as the platform components.
Elektrobit is one of the few companies that are developing products that implement the Adaptive AUTOSAR. Elektrobit’s Adaptive Platform product is called EB-corbos and you can find more information about that in the following web page – https://www.elektrobit.com/products/ecu/eb-corbos/.
Automotive industry the world over is embracing these new technology trends to remain competitive in the market, albeit at the different pace based on the geography.
About the Author
Prabha is currently working as a Lead Technical Architect in automotive infotainment domain with responsibility for architecture and design for In-Vehicle Infotainment projects in Elektrobit. With over 20 years of experience in the automotive industry she has worked with multiple Original Equipment Manufacturers(OEMs) across the world. She is an iSAQB certified Software Architect. In the domain of automotive infotainment, her expertise spans across architecting Distributed Coach and Truck Infotainment systems, Low cost Infotainment System for Asian markets, Human Machine Interface, Vehicle Middleware, Audio, Device drivers, Functional Safety.