Alliance touts industrywide infotainment software
The Genivi Alliance, an industry group that is creating a common software for infotainment systems, has scored an initial success: BMW AG will introduce Genivi software next year.
The German automaker is working on its infotainment system with Magneti Marelli, and will introduce Genivi software in an unnamed vehicle.
Other companies also are working with the Genivi software. PSA Peugeot Citroen, for instance, is said to be developing a Genivi-based infotainment system.
Genivi's members have created a standard basic software that allows developers to add programs for speech recognition, navigation, Web browsers, media players, vehicle controls and other functions.
Automakers can still create infotainment systems with a distinct look and feel, so motorists aren't confronted with a "one-size-fits-all" system, said Genivi Vice President Matt Jones, who also is a technical specialist for Jaguar Land Rover in Gaydon, England.
"You won't have every vehicle looking like every other vehicle," Jones said. "BMW will still have its own features and Jaguar will have its own unique features."
BMW is working on its infotainment system with Magneti Marelli and will introduce Genivi software in an unnamed vehicle.
Genivi has 170 members, including automakers, software developers and hardware suppliers. Among the members are BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen, General Motors, Volvo and SAIC.
The alliance, which was formed in 2009, has standards for a Linux-based software system. Linux was chosen because it is stable, free and widely used. Since Linux is an open-source operating system, developers can share their fixes for software bugs.
Infotainment systems can cost tens of millions of dollars to develop.
In theory, Genivi will enable developers to update infotainment software quickly and cheaply, because they won't have to create separate programs for each automaker's proprietary system, Jones said.
"Rather than assigning 10 engineers to [program] Bluetooth, Jaguar can use just one engineer, and BMW will use just one, and the other automakers can use just one," Jones said. "We get to share that software, and we enjoy economies of scale."
Who else will adopt Genivi and help it gain traction?
Major chip suppliers such as Intel, Freescale, Renesas, Texas Instruments and Samsung are members. Major infotainment suppliers such as Continental, Delphi, Denso, Harman and Bosch have signed on, too.
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