Telematics and GENIVI: Creating more opportunity

Telematics and GENIVI: Creating more opportunity

Last summer, GENIVI launched its compliance program, announcing that offerings from Canonical, Mentor Graphics, MontaVista, and Wind River were approved as GENIVI compliant. The initial roster of companies with compliant products shows a strategic shift in the organization.


The compliance program includes detailed specifications for all the different parts of an in-vehicle infotainment system, such as Bluetooth, graphics and sound, according to Dan Cauchy, vice president of marketing for MontaVista Software and chair of the GENIVI compliance team. Each entry is rated priority 1, 2 or 3. In order to be compliant, a distribution must meet all priority 1 requirements.


As it stands today, the GENIVI compliance program is based on a lightweight validation, according to Joel Hoffmann, business strategist for Intel's Automotive Solutions Division and marketing chair and board member of GENIVI. A company's application for a product is reviewed by a compliance team made up of at least five system architects. "If there are inconsistencies or some known shortcomings, or they don't meet all the first-priority definitions, they will be stated non-compliant," Hoffmann explains.


The GENIVI compliance program is intended to evolve over time, with more criteria being added. Later, it may attempt to standardize more components of telematics systems, such as services delivered to the car, Hoffman says. (For more on the impact of GENIVI, see Will GENIVI speed up telematics development?)

Move from MeeGo

Notably missing from the press announcement was MeeGo, the Linux distribution that GENIVI had originally selected as the operating system for its reference platform. It's not over for MeeGo, though.


While the consortium's goal was to be able to announce its compliance, the OS, originally designed for smartphones and laptops, was not quite there. An additional MeeGo announcement is expected soon, according to Hoffmann. "The alliance determined that it would be more advantageous to have a wider set of products available, rather than just the core Linux distribution," Hoffmann says.

This is in keeping with the original value proposition of GENIVI and Linux itself:


Provide a common specification for the operating system and middleware components, and then let suppliers and OEMs differentiate themselves via telematics integration, services and the user interface.


It also reflects a hard market fact, according to Carlos Garcia-Sierra, senior segment marketing manager for infotainment for Renesas. He says the needs of infotainment systems were not a priority in the design of MeeGo because of its origin as an OS for mobile phones and Internet-connected TVs.


Moreover, he says, because the MeeGo project was founded by Intel and Nokia, support for ARM processors, commonly used in embedded devices, is limited. "Ubuntu does place a strong priority on ARM," Garcia-Sierra says.


GENIVI platform vendors give the same sales pitch. Jon Melamut, vice president of operations and products, OEM Services, for Canonical, says, "One value Ubuntu brings to the table is a cross-architecture environment."


Canonical's Ubuntu IVI Remix is an automotive infotainment-specific Linux product that was approved as compliant that supports Intel's x86 architectures, as well as ARM. The operating system is based on Ubuntu Core, a subset of Ubuntu technologies, but with some of the HMI and application elements stripped out. "One reason people like to use Ubuntu is that they have freedom of choice,” Melamut says. "We are architecture agnostic, while some operating system companies are more preferential to certain ones."


"One of the key things a Linux distribution has to support is multiple architectures; it has to run ARM," MontaVista's Cauchy says, adding that MIPS may also need to be supported in the future.

Driving GENIVI

Renesas has built a reference platform for GENIVI using ARM processors. Garcia says the compliance program is only the beginning for getting compliant systems into the market by model year 2016. He says, "The foundation is already there. As we get certified GENIVI platforms, the OEMs need to finalize the top of the cake and all the icing."


Cauchy says his company is the first to ship Linux in vehicles, with some on the streets right now, although he could not disclose the models or manufacturers. New features for its GENIVI-compliant Automotive Technology Platform were developed to solve customers' specific needs, such as updating the software remotely or detecting a system crash.


The GENIVI compliance program is just an initial step in getting Linux on the road, Hoffmann says: “When suppliers ship a product, the OEM is going to hold them to the fire to make sure they did ship a product that complies."

Susan Kuchinskas is a regular contributor to TU.


For more all the latest telematics trends, join the sector’s other key players at Telematics Munich 2011 on November 9-10.

Read TU’s report Smart Vehicle Technology: The Future of Insurance Telematics for exclusive business insights into the global UBI market.

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