The Qt Company on trends in automotive GUIs

Speaking about motor show concept cars today’s manufacturers put more and more emphasis on high-tech gadgetry in the cockpit. From multimedia content and social media to navigation and vehicle diagnostics systems – there are numerous ways to equip modern automotive GUIs. The Qt Company provided a white paper that introduces emerging trends in user interface design, embedded hardware and cross-platform frameworks.

Key Facts

  • Many of the latest mid-range cars are launched with graphical center-consoles.
  • Most common purposes of consoles: navigation, communication and diagnostics.
  • The trend is towards touch screen head units with an ever-growing diversity of input signals.

Learn more about automotive GUI trends identified by The Qt Company and view the full whitepaper “Driving the user interface – trends in automotive GUIs” here.

Driver workload assessments – Case Study by Denso

Have a look at Denso’s presentation on driver workload management held at the Automotive Apps Evolution conference. The vehicle is becoming an increasingly complex environment because of more devices being brought into car to interact with. The consequence: many reported crashes involving electronic device-related distractions. Driver workload management is one approach to cope with increasing demands for drivers on the road via HMI systems.

Key Learning Points

  • Road infrastructure is becoming increasingly demanding (traffic density, greater use of signage, road structure complexity).
  • Society’s concern: increased driver workload and distraction lead to more accidents.
  • A smart HMI solution would be a workload manager with 2 key functions: assessment of the driver’s current workload level & control the HMI to support but not overload the driver.
  • Minimizing driver distraction whilst optimizing the driver and passenger experience and at the same time is a real opportunity for intelligent design concepts.
  • GENIVI Alliance is already driving the broad adoption of an in-vehicle infotainment open-source development platform.

View the full Case Study “Driver workload assessment and safe management of in-car apps” and learn how Denso’s approaches the potential threat of driver workload increase.

New technologies for automated cars incoming

New systems for automated cars like self-parking or adaptive cruise control are already on the market, but there are still many other technologies on the way. With the aim of speeding up the deployment of intelligent driving, auto makers and researchers are working on new technologies. The video article shows how V2V and V2X communication are being tested on test tracks and simulated traffic environments in the Netherlands.

IHS Automotive Technology: Google vs OEMs & Tier 1s?

Dr. Egil Juliussen from IHS Automotive Technology took a close look at the autonomous driving scenario from Google and compared it to the strategies run by OEMs and Tier 1s. With driverless cars, more people than ever have the opportunity to “drive” a vehicle. On the one hand this brings in new market potentials and competition from many companies with expertise in producing electric cars. But on the other hand extensively used connected vehicles call for cyber security measures, which are still in a maturing phase.

Continental's fight against driver distraction

During his interview at Car HMI Europe, Continental Project Engineer Zack Bolton questioned the assumption that hands-free mobile use whilst driving is less distracting than handheld cell phone use. He stated there is no data or evidence proving the advantage of hands-free mobile use. Safety systems and their machine interfaces are still too simplistic; for better HMI with less distractions the driver intention should be taken into account, too.

What apps will be relevant for the connected car?

Last year 150+ auto apps experts gave their opinion on the future of automotive apps during the auto apps online-survey. The majority of the respondents stated that in-vehicle social networks and gaming content will not be relevant within the connected car. Experts agreed that autonomous vehicles will push in-vehicle entertainment and future automotive apps will be both free and fee-based.

Key Learning Points

  • Central tasks of applications in the connected car: Delivering safety and driving-support services to the driver (46%) and interoperability between devices, technology and car (40%).
  • According to managers’ expectation the future of automotive apps lies in changing the way content is delivered (61%).
  • 59% of the people surveyed do not see any relevance in social networks and gaming content for auto apps.
  • Almost all participants (89%) believe that autonomous vehicle technology push in-vehicle entertainment.

Download the full Automotive Apps Trends & Developments Survey Report here and you will surely find answers on all relevant questions concerning the future of automotive apps.

Fiat Group: Striking Tasks in automotive apps evolution

Alberto Motta
Global Uconnect Program Manager, Fiat Group Automobiles

Alberto Motta
Global Uconnect Program Manager, Fiat Group Automobiles

we.CONECT spoke with Alberto Motta, R&D Global Uconnect Program Manager at Fiat Group Automobiles about striking tasks in the automotive apps evolution. Alberto Motta has 20 years of experience in R&D, with special focus on the electronic field.
From the Research Center on design of electronic engine controls, he moved to Fiat Group and the design department of electrics and electronic systems of cars / car lines, with assignments worldwide, within Fiat and with the Joint Ventures. Nowadays, Alberto Motta is active in the infotainment and Telematics departments in the latest 2 years.

What role does your company play in the field of automotive apps and content development?

Alberto Motta: Fiat Group is highly involved in vehicle production – that is cars but also trucks, buses and agricultural machines with a global footprint. We are directing and implementing contents, which include apps, to customers. In some markets, the apps are in production to end users, in others in the development phase, depending on the maturity of the market.

What is your company’s most significant project with relation to automotive apps, user experience and content integration at the moment?

The project is called ‘Uconnect’, which is also the name of the internal team in charge to formulate specification, develop and run the operations. It is a complete E2E architecture which links the vehicles and the customers offering an array of services, in bidirectional way from the customer to the backend, and vice versa, together with a list of partners and operators under user’s choice.

Which critical trends and innovations can you identify in the evolution of auto apps and content development to play a growing role in the auto sector?

The trend shows a clear ‘invasion’ of field in the Automotive arena from companies and actors once limited to ICT, services, consumer electronics linked to the customers rather than the vehicles. There is a potential to link several worlds, as well as there is a struggle in how to orientate the development, in the means of what to open, what to protect, what to decide to evolve, what to let others decide to evolve, what is a potential feature to enjoy, what is a potential factor of disturbance and so on.

Which issues do you consider poorly developed or unresolved within the area of auto apps?

In my opinion, Vehicle to Infrastructure and Vehicle to Vehicle are issues not yet resolved. Infrastructure means public investments and standards in the European context with different possibilities and priorities at this point. The eCall legislation for example is showing this different speed among the states. Ultimately, apps in the automotive sector are offering services to fill gaps on information, services and traffic situations, which could be a part of agreements among governments.

From your point of view – Which are the conflicts arising between current and upcoming players in the auto app industry? How should they be handled?

Clearly the Internet of Things is considering a vehicle as an additional device, peripheral to some extent, or a way to exploit user’s habits to offer services not necessarily related to using a car, in a safe way, having fun or travelling. The Automotive Sector can embrace some of these new possibilities while keeping the focus on physical transportation. However, there is a growing concern about how to handle liability issues in an environment, which functions a web of contributors with ever different competences and objectives.

Can you name the most significant keys to a safe and fast integration of apps and mobile devices in the automotive cockpit?

From my experience, it is absolutely key to have a complete, robust and future-proof set of tools to define and manage contents from definition, to HMI, which are flexible to allow a variety of displays, voices, vehicle resources and power – such as bandwidth, processing capacity, memories – and perform testing, while guaranteeing backward compatibility to some level. Furthermore, automated environments and suites of test cases are of high value.

In your opinion, how will the dynamics in the automotive apps market change within the next 5 years? Which potentials do you see?

The evolution is already on the run, with apps being highly valued in brands and commercial offers, as they are linked to fresh, light and modern products thanks to consumer electronics. So the pressure for even faster time to market will increase. But the limited life cycle of some services and the complexity of the automotive environment and customer fragmentation is each time requiring higher investments with limited margins. In the next 5 years we foresee several mergers, possible acquisitions by carmakers of some companies and Tier1 suppliers and an increasing number of partnerships on the backend side.

Can you name the most significant keys to a safe and fast integration of apps and mobile devices in the automotive cockpit?

From my experience, it is absolutely key to have a complete, robust and future-proof set of tools to define and manage contents from definition, to HMI, which are flexible to allow a variety of displays, voices, vehicle resources and power – such as bandwidth, processing capacity, memories – and perform testing, while guaranteeing backward compatibility to some level. Furthermore, automated environments and suites of test cases are of high value.

Thanks a lot for this interview!

Interview Partners: Serina Gummert and Alberto Motta

Be part of our Automotive App Lounge

If you are currently developing an app suitable for the automotive environment you should not miss out we.CONECT’S Automotive App Lounge. Here you can showcase and share your ideas with like-minded people in order to get valuable input for the further course of your auto app development process. The App Developer Lounge will take place during the AACT! 2016 Event on September 19-20 in Berlin.
Have you developed an automotive app that decision makers should become aware of? Just visit the AACT! 2016 Homepage to get further details on our App Developer Lounge and the event.