Infotainment, meet Ethernet Weekly Brief—12.5.11

Infotainment, meet Ethernet Weekly Brief—12.5.11

In this week's Brief: Continental, BMW, Google, Continental, Toyota, Magna Electronics, Mobileye Vision Technologies, Wind River, Clarion, Grooveshark, and Livio Radio

Continental wagered that Ethernet technology may be the future of vehicle communications.

The company announced plans to release a suite of copper-cable-based Ethernet solutions that act as hubs for connected network nodes in a vehicle.

One specific solution is an intelligent antenna module that contains antennas for wireless communication between vehicles and the infrastructure, plus antennas for the vehicle interior and associated transmission and reception electronics.

All the data received in the module can be digitalized directly and sent to the relevant components via the IP-based network.

Such a module would save 15 to 20 percent compared to current optical networking standards like MOST, the company said.

“This will enable us to cut overall vehicle costs while at the same time increasing the range of available functions,” explains Helmut Matschi, executive board member at Continental.

“We can envisage Ethernet based predevelopment projects in all vehicle domains by 2020.”

BMW launched an updated user interface for BMW Online. The new version bundles many services into an Applications menu, which users can personalize.

BMW believes the new layout of services will allow the company to seamlessly add new features as they become available.

Customers who subscribe to the optional BMW Assist Convenience Plan and have a navigation-equipped vehicle capable of receiving the BMW Online service will immediately be updated to the newest version today, without having to make any changes to their vehicle.

Google launched version 6.0 of Google Maps. The new version provides interior maping for airports, shopping malls, retail stores, and other public spaces that have agreed to be partake in Google’s freestanding map directory.

Users can see floorplans whenever they zoom in on a building, if that building has provided its information, and mobile users can take advantage of floor-by-floor, turn-by-turn interior directions.

Version 6.0 also makes it easier to transition from one feature to another, so that drivers with Google Maps embedded in their cars can easily switch from turn-by-turn directions to My Places to Location History.

Toyota opened up orders for the new plug-in hybrid Prius, the PHV.

The vehicle will launch in January 2012 and will come pre-loaded with PHV Drive Support, an in-vehicle offering that makes it easy for drivers to maximize their in-car experience and their cost and eco savings.

Drivers can “eConnect,” which allows them to check in on the charging status of their vehicles from their smartphones.

The “Toyota Friend” feature streams tweet-like alerts to the dashboard about charging and service reminders.

The car will cost roughly $41,000.

Magna Electronics and Mobileye Vision Technologies partnered to produce advanced automotive driver assistance features.

The companies will develop and supply a combined automatic high beam/low beam headlamp controller and lane departure warning system integrated into a single-camera system.

Mobileye’s EyeQ vision image processor-on-a-chip will be combined with Magna Electronics’ advanced camera and automatic headlamp control software in order to provide enhanced value and minimize package size.

Embedded- and mobile-software provider Wind River and Clarion, a leading manufacturer of high-performance in-car entertainment systems, agreed to develop Android-based in-vehicle infotainment systems.

Wind River will create a customized Android software platform for an automotive environment and provide software integration services to ensure Clarion delivers a compatible, reliable and high quality device.

Leveraging Android’s flexibility for innovation, Clarion Malaysia’s new IVI device is designed to deliver a compelling user experience, especially in areas of multimedia, entertainment and connectivity.

On-demand music service Grooveshark and Livio Radio launched an in-car app integration kit dubbed “The Grooveshark Car Kit by Livio.”

The kit is a plug-and-play gadget that brings Grooveshark and music from an Android phone to any FM car stereo.

The Kit also offers Bluetooth hands-free calling, USB charging, and buttons to safely control the Grooveshark application.

Android smartphone users can download the Grooveshark app for free at, and a free three-month trial of Grooveshark Anywhere is included with Kit purchase.




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