One of the main challenges with infotainment is how to match the experience in the vehicle that users enjoy on their smart phone. Users are used to touch screens and the occassional system reboot on a phone. A vehicle system has significantly different reliability and safety constraints. Touch screen interfaces are replaced with voice interaction and use of the in-car controls to manage content.
An early example of an ARM powered platform in this domain is the Ford Sync and our partners are hard at work with a broad set of even more exciting platforms that will roll out in the coming years. The proliferation of the ARM architecture in mobile applications has led to the availability of many ingredients necessary to build energy-efficient, extremely low cost telematics and infotainment platforms. ARM is investing with its partners to standardize the basic software building blocks, to enable the car manufacturers and their supplier to focus on areas of value add and differentiation around the user interface. We are heading towards a future that incorporates simpler user interfaces in the car that provide seamless access to content as a driver moves from their home, to the car and to the office.
With the increased safety and reliability concerns associated with designs in this domain (imagine the issues associated with legal action on non-functional elements of a car or even the return rate of $40,000 vehicles that exhibit unreliable operation of the infotainment systems), one of the primary challenges is how to stay as current on technology as possible. ARM's viewpoint is that this will require a migration to more modular designs, using secure gateways to ensure that the services inside the vehicle can be accessed reliably from authenticated users of smartphone technology.
One of ARM's main focuses in this space is in creating a common set of software building blocks that can be used by all ARM partners. ARM is a board member of the Genivi consortium which focuses on standardizing Linux tool and distributions of the OS, enabling car manufacturers and their suppliers to focus on their areas of value add, which is typically around the user interface. Of course, one of ARM's strong beliefs is in encouraging choice at all levels of the value chain. Therefore, ARM fully supports the activities of QNX and its ecosystem (currently the largest IVI solution as measured by deployed platforms) and Microsoft's initiatives in this area.