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First impressions are the most lasting

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lynn Gayowski
Lynn Gayowski
Preparations for 2015 CES in January are in full swing at QNX Software Systems, both in and out of the garage. Thus, with fond memories in mind, the time has come to graduate our 2014 technology concept car, based on a Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG, to a CES Car of Fame. The Mercedes will always hold a special place in my heart, as it was the first technology concept car I got to experience hands-on since joining the QNX team.

If I were to describe this concept car with one word, I would choose "user-centric". (I love how hyphens can really help in these succinct situations.) We designed the infotainment system and digital instrument cluster with a vision to help drivers interact in new and seamless ways with their vehicles. This concept car is a great example of how QNX technology can enable a more natural user experience.

As we hum a few bars of Sarah McLachlan's classic I Will Remember You, let's look back at some highlights.

The first thing that catches your eye is the matte exterior and stylish lines, exuding just a soupçon of James Bond:

QNX 2014 technology concept car - exterior

But let's get to the technology. At 21" by 7" the touch screen is a showstopper. It brings a rich, graphical interface to both driver and passenger. This is where you can really see the user-centric design, with options to control the infotainment system with the touch screen, physical buttons, a jog wheel, or voice commands:

QNX 2014 technology concept car - infotainment system

We really wanted to use the car to highlight the flexibility of the QNX CAR Platform and how customers can easily modify features using the platform's pre-integrated technologies. A great example of this is the car's navigation system. The car actually has 4 different navigation solutions installed, demonstrating how automakers can choose a solution best suited for a particular geography or language. EB Street Director is featured in this photo:

QNX 2014 technology concept car - navigation

The infotainment system may wow you, but don't forget about the cluster. The Mercedes has a dynamically reconfigurable digital instrument cluster that can display turn-by-turn directions, notifications of incoming phone calls, video from the car's front and rear cameras, as well as a tachometer, speedometer, and other virtual instruments, at a full 60 frames per second. The cluster can even notify you of incoming text messages on your phone. Simply push a steering-wheel button, and the system will read the message aloud, so you can keep your eyes on the road.

QNX 2014 technology concept car - cluster

Another cool feature is the cluster's "virtual mechanic" which lets you access vehicle info like tire pressure, brake wear, and fuel, oil, and windshield fluid levels:

QNX 2014 technology concept car - virtual mechanic

What car of the future would be complete without connectivity? A custom "key fob" app allows you to remotely access system maintenance information, control the media player, locate the car on a map, and perform a number of actions like starting the car and opening window. This cross-platform HTML5 app can run on any smartphone or tablet:

QNX 2014 technology concept car - key fob

As an overall view of the Mercedes, one of my favourite pieces is this video by Sami Haj-Assaad of AutoGuide, where he takes a look at the design and features of the car. His closing quote really sums up the innovation showcased: "The infotainment industry is going through a huge upgrade, with QNX leading the charge."



I hope you enjoyed the 2014 QNX technology concept car. Watch for the reveal of our 2015 technology concept car January 6 at CES in Las Vegas!

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