Thursday, April 30, 2015

The CLA 45 has landed!

Megan Alink
Europe, your day has come! After five years of showcasing our technology concept cars primarily in North America, we’ve bid farewell to the Mercedes CLA 45 and sent it across the pond to our colleagues in Germany. Over the coming year while the Mercedes resides in Europe, our customers — and anyone who’s just mesmerized by slick, pre-integrated automotive tech — will have a chance to check the car out at a number of public events. (Stay tuned to for more details as these events arise.)

Witness the unboxing:

The CLA 45 emerges into the light at Bremerhaven.

On land and settling in nicely.

So beautiful! We can't wait for a whole new continent to see it for themselves.

Interested in a sneak peek at the inside of this gorgeous vehicle? Read this blog from Lynn Gayowski, or get up close and personal with the digital instrument cluster in this one from Paul Leroux. For more photos, see our Flickr album.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

We showed you so

QNX has been building NFC functionality into concept cars since 2011. Now, with the advent of automotive-grade tags and chips, NFC may be coming to a dashboard near you.

Paul Leroux
Why does QNX transform vehicles like the Maserati QuattroPorte GTS, Mercedes-Benz CLA45, and Bentley Continental into technology concept cars? I can think of many reasons, but three stand out. First, the cars allow us to demonstrate the inherent flexibility and customizability of QNX technology. If you could put all of the cars side by side, you would quickly see that, while they all use the same QNX platform, each has a unique feature set and a distinctive look-and-feel — no two are alike. This flexibility is of immense importance to automakers, who, for reasons of market differentiation, need to deliver a unique brand experience in each marque or vehicle line. Alf Pollex, Head of Connected Car and Infotainment at Volkswagen, says it best: “the QNX platform... enables us to offer a full range of infotainment systems, from premium level to mass volume, using a single, proven software base.”

Second, the cars explore how thoughtful integration of new technologies can make driving easier, more enjoyable, and perhaps even a little safer. Case in point: the Maserati’s obstacle awareness display, which demonstrates how ADAS systems can aggregate data from ultrasonic and LiDAR sensors to help drivers become more aware of their surroundings. This display works much like a heads-up display, but instead of providing speed, RPM, or navigation information, it offers visual cues that help the driver gauge the direction and proximity of objects around the vehicle — pedestrians, for example.

Look ma, no menus: At 2012 CES, a QNX concept car
showcased how NFC can enable single-tap Bluetooth
phone pairing.
Third, the cars explore solutions that address real and immediate pain points. Take, for example, the pairing of Bluetooth phones. Many consumers find this task difficult and time-consuming; automakers, for their part, see it as a source of customer dissatisfaction. So, in 2011, we started to equip some of our concept cars with near field communication (NFC) technology that enables one-touch phone pairing. This pairing is as easy it sounds: you simply touch an NFC-enabled phone to an NFC tag embedded in the car’s console, and voilĂ , pairing with the car’s infotainment system happens automatically.

Prime time
NFC in the car holds much promise, but when, exactly, will it be ready for prime time? Pretty soon, as it turns out. In a recent article, “NFC looks to score big in cars,” Automotive Engineering International points to several vendors, including Broadcom, NXP, Melexis, Texas Instruments and ams AG, that have either announced or shipped automotive-grade NFC solutions. NXP, for example, expects that some of its NFC tags and chips will first go into production cars around 2016.

Mind you, NFC isn’t just for phone pairing. It can, for example, enable key-fob applications that allow phones to store user preferences for seat positions and radio stations. It can also enable use cases in which multiple drivers operate the same vehicle, such as car sharing or fleet management. The important thing is, it’s moving from concept to production, marking one more step in the seamless integration of cars and smartphones.

Did you know…
  • BMW embeds NFC tags not only in its cars, but also in print ads.
  • IHS has predicted that, in 2018, global shipments of NFC-equipped cellphones will reach 1.2 billion units.
  • NFC World publishes a living document that lists all of the NFC handsets available worldwide.

Monday, April 27, 2015

QNX rolls out new wireless framework

Framework abstracts the complexity of modem control, enabling embedded developers to upgrade cellular and Wi-Fi hardware without having to rewrite applications.

Paul Leroux
Building cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity into a vehicle is never trivial (read: it can be an outright headache). Take, for example, the large amount of software needed to manage a cellular modem. The software needs to monitor and control power consumption, ensure data throughput and reliability, minimize call drops and call-setup failures, and manage modem reset and recovery — because even the best modems crash.

To complicate matters, modem technology for embedded systems is evolving quickly. Development teams need the freedom to upgrade to newer, more capable modems, without having to rewrite or redesign their applications. Likewise, they need the flexibility to choose the best modem for a particular region, product line, or price point.

Enter the QNX Wireless Framework, which QNX Software Systems released last week. Designed to simplify system design, the framework encapsulates the complexities of modem control through an easy-to-use application programming interface (API). Moreover, the API remains consistent across wireless modules and chipsets, allowing systems to quickly support new cellular or Wi-Fi products from vendors such as Gemalto, Sierra Wireless, Telit Wireless Solutions, and u-blox.

The QNX Wireless Framework can scale to meet a broad range of product requirements.

The QNX Wireless Framework is built on technology already deployed in millions of BlackBerry devices, supported by hundreds of mobile carriers, and field-proven in complex wireless environments. Better yet, it's backed by a dedicated, world-class team of wireless experts with hundreds of person-years of experience building carrier-grade mobile products.

To learn more about the QNX Wireless framework:
  • download the webinar on applying smartphone wireless technology to connected embedded systems

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

We’re blushing!

By Megan Alink, Director of Marketing Communications for Automotive

The folks over at TU-Automotive announced their awards finalists today, and what a day it has turned out to be! QNX Software Systems has been declared a finalist in two categories:

  • TU-Automotive Influencer of the Year: Andrew Poliak, Global Business Development Director, QNX Software Systems
  • Best Mobility Solution Industry Newcomer: QNX Software Systems for the QNX Wireless Framework

Andrew Poliak
A 15-year veteran of QNX, Andrew Poliak is one of the leading experts in the automotive software industry and a trusted advisor and spokesperson for media and analysts on trends and issues, including in the areas of safety, security, ADAS, infotainment, instrument clusters, mobile connectivity, and telematics. On a daily basis, Andrew works with automotive manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers around the world to help bring new infotainment systems to market. His work has paved the way to our recent achievement of >50% market share in automotive infotainment. You can follow Andrew on Twitter here and read some of his latest thoughts on automotive trends here, here, and here.

The QNX Wireless Framework was developed by a team of mobile wireless experts with hundreds of person-years of experience building advanced, carrier-grade mobile products. The platform helps automotive OEMs enrich the driving experience by adding cellular and Wi-Fi technologies to enable over-the-air updates, deliver access to cloud-based services such as maps, navigation, and voice recognition, and address new regulatory requirements including eCall (Europe), Simrav (Brazil), and GLONASS (Russia). Read more about the QNX Wireless Framework here or check out our webinar.

You can find the complete list of categories and finalists on the TU-Automotive site. Congratulations to all the other finalists, and we’ll see you at the awards dinner!