Innovative Telematics Solution to Hit the Road

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 24, 2005 —
Microsoft Corp.’s Automotive Business Unit is collaborating with Samsung Electronics, ScanSoft, Siemens, SiRF , Xilinx and Magneti Marelli to develop a flexible, low-cost telematics system to be integrated into every new Fiat Auto car. Based on a reference design defined by Microsoft and Fiat Auto, the system will incorporate key aspects from each collaborator, including a chip set, processors, a telecommunications module, a speech engine and hardware development. All applications and services for the system will be based on Microsoft’s telematics platform, helping ensure the smooth integration of hardware and software. Together, the companies are developing a robust system that will meet the needs of drivers and passengers for an enjoyable, user-friendly and safer experience.

Talking on the phone, enjoying their personal music selection and looking for addresses: Motorists are doing all this while driving. The joint telematics solution being developed will provide drivers with easy access to applications for all these activities. The system will allow diagnostic data to be transferred to and analyzed by the manufacturer and the preferred dealer. Microsoft’s work with these automotive partners builds on its announcement in July 2004 that it had formed a long-term strategic partnership with Fiat Auto to develop just such an entry-level, low-cost telematics solution for all Fiat Auto’s Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo brands. Later this year, Fiat customers will be able to purchase vehicles with new telematics systems that offer several levels of connectivity. These systems will offer seamless integration with customer devices such as cellular phones and Windows Mobile (TM) -based Pocket PCs or other devices that use Bluetooth®
connectivity to access contacts and appointments and make hands-free calls. In addition to having hands-free capabilities, motorists will be able to access Web services for off-board navigation and real-time traffic information. Drivers and passengers also will be able to enjoy digital music in the car through a Universal Serial Bus (USB) port on the dashboard that will enable easy connectivity to personal electronic devices. All systems will feature high-quality speech recognition functionality.

Partner Ecosystem

As announced last July, the hardware for the project will be built by Magneti Marelli, Fiat Group’s automotive components arm. This device will be the foundation on which all the applications run.

Samsung Electronics’ Semiconductor Business, System LSI division, will provide its popular application processor for this project. The code-named S3C2440 processor is characterized by its efficient 400MHz ARM920T core and a rich set of peripherals including USB, IIC, IIS, liquid crystal display (LCD) and memory controller, all of which maximize the system performance for this navigation and “infotainment” platform.

The solution’s mobile application processor is supported by the Xilinx Spartan-3 (TM) field programmable gate array (FPGA), the companion to the ARM processor. The FPGA implements two Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitters (UARTS), volume control, a noise suppression filter, echo cancellation, decimeters and scalers. Because the Spartan-3 FGPAs are fully programmable, updates can be made to the hardware even after field deployment. In the automotive industry, where cars have a life span of 10 years or more, this is an especially critical feature. As the first 90nm programmable device in the industry, Spartan-3 combines unrivaled cost benefits with higher density and numerous performance features.

While Samsung Electronics and Xilinx provide the telematics solution with its processor and logic, SiRF delivers the chip set necessary to support Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities. The company’s SiRFstarIIt chip set allows GPS functionality to be added to the system with extremely minimal additional cost in components and circuit board area by sharing the host system’s processor and memory resources. The chip set accesses and tracks satellites. Afterward, it sends raw measurements to the host processor running the SiRFNav software parallel to the host applications, thereby providing motorists with real-time accurate positioning.

For the telecommunications module, Microsoft and Fiat turned to Siemens, one of the world’s largest communications systems vendors, to ensure reliable mobile communications features. In its role as a GSM/GPRS technology leader, the Siemens Wireless Module division’s AC45 module with an integrated SIM Access Profile (SAP) was specifically developed for the automotive market and enables wireless access to information on a mobile phone’s SIM card via Bluetooth. The AC45 RIL driver support allows easy, fast and optimal development of Windows Mobile-based devices.

Because most of the system’s features will be controlled by speech commands, ScanSoft was chosen to integrate a highly accurate and reliable speech system that supports multiple languages. ScanSoft used its highly accurate VoCon 3200 automotive voice recognition solution and RealSpeak, the most natural-sounding synthesized speech engine. Fiat customers will be able to more easily make calls and access contacts and other information stored on their personal digital assistant (PDA) or mobile phone hands-free using the car’s audio system — all by simply using their voice.

About Fiat Auto

One of the pioneer companies in the automobile industry, Fiat has produced more than 85 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, including no less than 400 models, since 1899, when the company was founded in Turin, Italy. Some of them have represented milestones in the automotive industry. Fiat Auto operates worldwide with the following brands: Fiat, celebrated for value, economy and innovation, and whose mass-produced cars are distributed over almost the entire price class spectrum; Lancia (acquired in 1969), which means prestige cars noted for their elegant styling and comfort; and Alfa Romeo (acquired in 1986), famous as a maker of sport and luxury vehicles of style and distinction.

About Magneti Marelli

Magneti Marelli, a Fiat Group company, is an international leader in the design and production of high-tech components and systems for the automotive industry based in Italy. Founded in 1919, the company has industrial and R & D facilities in Argentina, Brazil, the Czech Republic, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. Magneti Marelli supplies the world’s major car manufacturers such as Renault, Citron, Peugeot, Fiat Group, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, BMW, Rover, DaimlerChrysler, GM-Opel, Volvo, Saab, Nissan, Toyota and Daewoo. For more information, please visit http://www.magnetimarelli.com .

About Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies, with 2004 parent company sales of $55.2 billion (U.S.) and net income of $10.3 billion (U.S.). Employing approximately 123,000 people in 93 offices in 48 countries, the company consists of five main business units: Digital Appliance Business, Digital Media Business, LCD Business, Semiconductor Business, and Telecommunication Network Business. Recognized as one of the fastest-growing brands, Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest producer of color monitors, color TVs, memory chips and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit http://www.samsung.com .

About Xilinx

Xilinx is the worldwide leader in complete programmable logic solutions. Founded in 1984, the company’s headquarter is in San Jose, Calif. Xilinx also has offices in Colorado and New Mexico in the United States, Ireland, Singapore and Scotland. International sales account for approximately 50 percent of the company’s revenues. Companies such as Cisco, Nortel, Ericsson, Microsoft, Panasonic, BMW, Gibson Guitar and TiVO are using the Xilinx solutions. For more information, visit http://www.xilinx.com .

About SiRF Technology

SiRF Technology Holding Inc. develops and markets semiconductor and software products that are designed to enable location-awareness by utilizing GPS and other location technologies in high-volume mobile consumer devices and commercial applications. SiRF’s technology has been integrated into mobile consumer devices such as automobile navigation systems, mobile phones, PDAs, GPS-based peripherals and handheld GPS navigation devices, and into commercial applications such as asset tracking devices and fleet management systems. SiRF markets and sells its products in four target platforms: automotive, consumer electronics, mobile computing and wireless devices. Founded in 1995, SiRF is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., and has sales offices, design centers and research facilities around the world. The company trades on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the symbol SIRF. Additional information about SiRF and its location technology solutions can be found at http://www.sirf.com .

About Siemens Communications

Siemens Communications is one of the largest players in the global telecommunications industry. Siemens is the only provider in the market that offers its customers a full-range portfolio, from devices for end users to complex network infrastructures for enterprises and carriers as well as related services. Siemens Communications is the world’s innovation leader in convergent technologies, products and services for wireless, fixed and enterprise networks. It is the largest group within Siemens and operates in more than 160 countries around the world. In fiscal year 2004 (year-end Sept. 30), its 60,000-strong work force posted sales of approximately 18 billion euros. More about Siemens Communications is at http://www.siemens.com/communications .

About ScanSoft

ScanSoft Inc. (Nasdaq “SSFT”) is the world’s premier supplier of speech and imaging solutions that help facilitate information exchange within and between the world’s leading companies and their customers. Headquartered in Massachusetts, United States, ScanSoft draws strength from a global work force of nearly 1,000 people, a partner network spanning 70 countries, and solutions offered in more languages than any other vendor in its space. Its solutions capture vital information and transform it into meaningful and actionable form, helping to eliminate barriers to productivity, enhance work experience, provide universal access, and simplify the interaction with hardware and software systems. Today, thousands of organizations, including the majority of the Fortune 100, rely on ScanSoft to deliver vital information to their customers. For more information, please visit http://www.scansoft.com .

About the Microsoft Automotive Business Unit

Since 1995, Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit has worked collaboratively with the auto industry to deliver technology designed for advanced in-car information, navigation and entertainment systems. By extending its knowledge of software for use in the car to Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs, Microsoft is able to deliver the easiest, most convenient and productive software designed specifically to help people take their connected lifestyle with them wherever they go. In addition to offering consumers an alternative means to experience in-car connectivity, Microsoft will continue to provide the automotive industry with its advanced telematics platform, Windows® Automotive. Microsoft®
technology is on the road today in 24 preinstalled and aftermarket devices from 13 world-class automakers and suppliers, including BMW, Citron, Clarion Co. Ltd., DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, NexTech, Subaru, Toyota and Volvo.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .

Related Posts

Q&A: Microsoft and Fiat Auto Partner for Major Telematics Deal

As Microsoft and automaker Fiat unveil a strategic partnership to develop a telematics system for Fiat cars, the executive in charge of Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit describes the vision behind the biggest deal in Microsoft’s eight years in the telematics business.