MADISON, Wis. — Recognizing that the car, once a mechanical device, is rapidly becoming a software-intensive system, Intel Corp., announced Thursday, May 29, a comprehensive plan to help automakers and car OEMs prepare for the future. That future, as illustrated by Intel, includes: connected cars, safety features enabled by Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), cars that recognize occupants of the vehicle and begin anticipating their desires, and, eventually, vehicles with self-driving capabilities.
The CPU giant, eager for a toehold in the automotive market, has previously touted the breadth and depth of its resources as qualification to be a strong partner for the automotive industry.
During a webcast Thursday, Doug Davis, corporate vice president of Intel's Internet of Things Group, discussed a family of new products dubbed Intel In-Vehicle Solutions, plus a list of alliances and the company's research activities.
Intel's pitch comes as no surprise. The second half of 2014 has been pegged by many in the automotive industry as a "consensus deadline" for the leading car OEMs to make their final decisions on architecture and technologies for semi-autonomous car platforms.
Automotive chip suppliers, ranging from Freescale Semiconductor and Renesas Electronics to Infineon Technologies and NXP Semiconductors, have all said they're working closely with OEMs, contributing ideas and making proposals, hopeful for design wins for key technologies on the platform.
Intel's Davis described Intel In-Vehicle Solutions as a family of hardware and software products, comprising "compute modules, software foundation, and application-ready platform."
Asked how exactly Intel's automotive platform differs from its competitors', Davis cited a comprehensive set of basic building blocks, ranging from an operating system to middleware and development kits. These consist of a hardened, application-ready, Linux-based hardware platform and a pre-integrated set of automotive middleware. Such validated hardware and software will be available in modular form, designed for easy integration. They come in application-ready platforms, he said.
The initial focus of Intel In-Vehicle Solutions is "infotainment." Describing the integration of the many informational and entertainment features as "an enormous task," Intel noted that the automotive-grade Intel In-Vehicle Solutions makes the task easier. Davis said such a standardized platform approach is expected to shorten infotainment development time by more than 12 months and reduce costs up to 50 percent.
Asked what operating system is used in Intel's In-Vehicle Infotainment solution, Davis said, "It's Tizan IVI, an automotive-grade Linux, with Genivi features integrated into the platform."
While Intel did not describe details of its ADAS solutions, the company provided a chart illustrating the escalating horsepower evolution for automotive, essential to enable various ADAS features and, ultimately, self-driving.
Road to Autonomous Driving
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Davis noted that Intel in 2012 plunked down $100 million to establish the Intel Capital Connected Car Fund. The latest investment from the fund goes to Tokyo-based ZMP Inc., according to Intel.
ZMP's mission is the development of autonomous driving technologies, various sensor systems, and visualization and analytics. Davis said, "ZMP's technologies would allow us to bring feeds from various sensors, cameras, and lidar/radar systems, and integrate them into a subsystem."
Intel also noted additional automotive investments by Intel Capital, which include CloudMade, provider of data aggregation and cloud connectivity necessary for future IVI solutions; Mocana, which delivers security to the Intel platform with a mobile app-shielding solution; and Tobii Technology, which applies perceptual computing technology to advanced driver assistance applications.
Intel also rattled off a number of partnerships it has established to support the automotive industry. The list includes Intel subsidiary Wind River Systems, Green Hills Software, QNX, and others.
Intel isn't a total novice in the automotive market. The company's technology is used in BMW's Navigation System Professional for all its vehicle models, the Infiniti InTouch infotainment system in the Infiniti Q50, and the Driver Information System in the all-new 2015 Hyundai Genesis.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times