REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 28, 2010 — The driving experience is about speed, horsepower, getting drivers where they need to be safely, efficiently, and now infotainment systems. Car makers are again forever changing the car experience and making it better with in-car infotainment systems powered by Windows Embedded Automotive.
Windows Embedded Automotive is the software platform that auto manufacturers and suppliers such as Ford, Kia, Fiat, Nissan, Renesas, Freescale, NVIDIA and Elektrobit are using to develop next-generation in-car infotainment systems.These systems support speech commands, touch input, hands-free Bluetooth phone connectivity, dashboard access to music and maps, third-party applications, and connections to a wide variety of portable devices. We recently caught up with these partners and got an update on what’s currently driving innovation at their companies.
The MyFord Touch from Ford is one example of a user interface (UI) that has been created through the use of the Windows Embedded Automotive platform. With it, Ford is able to appeal to a variety of audiences and is able to simplify drivers’ and passengers’ interactions with the radio, GPS and phone.
“Ford has achieved tremendous success with Ford SYNC in North America, and our global customers are excited about SYNC reaching their local markets. For us, SYNC is a powerful differentiator in the marketplace, made possible by our strong collaboration with Microsoft, and we are seeing a similar reaction to MyFord and MyLincoln Touch,” says Jim Buczkowski, Henry Ford Technical Fellow and director of Electrical and Electronic Systems for Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Co. “We continue to work closely with Microsoft to explore how Windows Embedded Automotive 7 might enable future features in Ford’s connectivity strategy.”
Kia, acknowledging the demand among consumers for advanced in-car technology systems, has integrated a newly created UI into their UVO system, which includes an advanced hands-free, in-car communication and entertainment system built on the Windows Embedded Automotive software platform.
“Microsoft provides a foundation for the UVO system, an important element of connected car technology,” says Henry Bzeih, national manager, Connected Car, Kia Motors. “And as Kia moves deeper into providing advanced future connectivity in its vehicles, we look forward to an expanding relationship with Microsoft.”
Fiat Group Automobiles is planning to compete in the North American market this year by bringing over its long-awaited Fiat 500. The 500 includes Fiat’s Blue&Me technology, powered by Windows Embedded Automotive, which utilizes voice control to take mobile phones and digital music players and integrate them into the overall audio system and controls of the car.
The 2011 Nissan LEAF is the newest example of an affordable car that uses Windows Embedded Automotive technology to enhance the driving experience with a touch-screen Information Hub. The Hub gives LEAF drivers and passengers a navigation system and offers a real-time locator for public charging, timers for charging and running heat or air conditioning, energy usage, and other tools to most efficiently use the vehicle. It also shares power consumption monitoring information with drivers, and enables easy in-car climate monitoring.
Renesas Electronics America Inc. recently announced support of Windows Embedded Automotive 7 to create its R-Car ARM and SH-4A system-on-chip (SoC) series. These chips integrate advanced graphics, video and audio, creating a software platform with built-in entertainment and communication applications. Specific to automotive applications, the chips allow for developers to integrate options such as instrument clusters, navigation, entertainment center, hands-free mobile phone, automotive Web client device, location-based services, HVAC climate controls, and automotive diagnostics information into the in-vehicle experience.
At SAE Convergence 2010, Freescale demonstrated its i.MX53 EVK running Windows Embedded Automotive 7 with Multimedia playback. Its features include HD video and audio, Bluetooth connectivity, speech recognition, and database navigation.
NVIDIA is excited to be working with Windows Embedded Automotive to help car makers bring the latest infotainment solutions to market based on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform and NVIDIA’s Tegra 2, one of the lowest power single-chip computers in the automotive market. NVIDIA is excited to be supporting Microsoft’s latest product, Windows Embedded Automotive 7 with Tegra 2, helping to provide powerful multimedia and reduced power consumption benefits to automotive infotainment systems.
Elektrobit (EB), a provider of Automotive Software Solutions, has been supporting Windows Embedded Automotive for many years including contributions to FIAT’s Blue & Me and Ford’s Sync systems. EB’s Automotive Software Products, including EB GUIDE Studio for HMI development and EB street director for navigation solutions, support Windows Embedded Automotive 7.
With the incorporation of infotainment systems in a variety of automobiles across a multitude of manufactures and suppliers, manufacturers are meeting consumers’ needs for an efficient way of displaying information relating to navigation, music and driving statistics — and giving them unprecedented levels of control to customize their driving experience.
To learn more about Windows Embedded Automotive and Windows Embedded Automotive 7, check out the Web page, press release or the recent white paper titled “A Technical Companion to Windows Embedded Automotive 7.”