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Long time, no see: Catching up with the QNX CAR Platform

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

By Megan Alink, Director of Marketing Communications for Automotive

It’s a fact — a person simply can’t be in two places at one time. I can’t, you can’t, and the demo team at QNX can’t (especially when they’re brainstorming exciting showcase projects for 2016… but that’s another blog. Note to self.) So what’s a QNX-loving, software-admiring, car aficionado to do when he or she has lost touch and wants to see the latest on the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment? Video, my friends.

One of the latest additions to our QNX Cam YouTube channel is an update to a video made just over two and a half years ago, in which my colleague, Sheridan Ethier, took viewers on a feature-by-feature walkthrough of the QNX CAR Platform. Now, Sheridan’s back for another tour, so sit back and enjoy a good, old-fashioned catch-up with what’s been going on with our flagship automotive product (with time references, just in case you’re in a bit of a hurry).

Sheridan Ethier hits the road in the QNX reference vehicle based on a modified Jeep Wrangler, running the latest QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment.

We kick things off with a look at one of the most popular elements of an infotainment system — multimedia. Starting around the 01:30 mark, Sheridan shows how the QNX CAR Platform supports a variety of music formats and media sources, from the system’s own multimedia player to a brought-in device. And when your passenger is agitating to switch from the CCR playlist on your MP3 device to Meghan Trainor on her USB music collection, the platform’s fast detection and sync time means you’ll barely miss a head-bob.

The QNX CAR Platform’s native multimedia player — the “juke box” — is just one of many options for enjoying your music.

About five minutes in, we take a look at how the QNX CAR Platform implements voice recognition. Whether you’re seeking out a hot latté, navigating to the nearest airport, or calling a co-worker to say you’ll be a few minutes late, the QNX CAR Platform lets you do what you want to do while doing what you need to do — keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Don’t miss a look at concurrency (previously discussed here by Paul Leroux) during this segment, when Sheridan runs the results of his voice commands (multimedia, navigation, and a hands-free call) smoothly at the same time.

Using voice recognition, users can navigate to a destination by address or point of interest description (such as an airport).

At eight minutes, Sheridan tells us about one of the best examples of the flexibility of the QNX CAR Platform — its support for application environments, including native C/C++, Qt, HTML5, and APK for running Android applications. The platform’s audio management capability makes a cameo appearance when Sheridan switches between the native multimedia player and the Pandora HTML5 app.

Pandora is just one of the HTML5 applications supported by the QNX CAR Platform.

As Sheridan tells us (at approximately 12:00), the ability to project smartphone screens and applications into the vehicle is an important trend in automotive. With technologies like MirrorLink, users can access nearly all of the applications available on their smartphone right from the head unit.

Projection technologies like MirrorLink allow automakers to select which applications will be delivered to the vehicle’s head unit from the user’s connected smartphone. 

Finally, we take a look at two interesting features that differentiate the QNX CAR Platform — last mode persistence (e.g. when the song you were listening to when you turned the car off starts up at the same point when you turn the car back on) and fastboot (which, in the case of QNX CAR, can bring your backup camera to life in 0.8 seconds, far less than the NHTSA-mandated 2 seconds). These features work hand-in-hand to ensure a safer, more enjoyable, more responsive driving experience.

Fastboot in 0.8 seconds means that when you’re ready to reverse, your car is ready to show you the way.

Interested in learning more about the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment? Check out Paul Leroux’s blog on the architecture of this sophisticated piece of software. To see QNX CAR in action, read Tina Jeffrey’s blog, in which she talks about how the platform was implemented in the reimagined QNX reference vehicle for CES 2015.

Check out the video here:


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