TU Detroit Weekly Brief—6.11.2012

In this week's Brief: Telematics Detroit, INRIX, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Elektrobit, TuneIn, Livio, CSR, the GENIVI Alliance, Hughes Telematics, Verizon, BMW, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors and Toyota Motor Sales

More than 1600 thought leaders, infotainment vendors, and automotive OEMs arrived in Novi, Michigan, for the 12th-annual Telematics Detroit conference hosted by Telematics Update.

The two-day conference included announcements, releases, and exhibitions of the latest solutions for the telematics space, as well as presentations on the pressing challenges and opportunities that the industry faces today.

At the event, INRIX announced that BMW selected INRIX's premium traffic information for next-generation connected navigation systems in North America.

As part of a multi-year contract, INRIX will provide cloud-based, real-time traffic information, traffic-influenced turn-by-turn directions, and alerts to accidents and other incidents along drivers' routes.

The company will also provide services that leverage local knowledge to improve routing, fuel economy and provide more accurate travel times.

"Together, (BMW and INRIX are) shaping a future of the connected car that puts drivers at the center of an experience that's personalized, localized and optimized in ways that make navigation indispensable to the daily driver,” said Bryan Mistele, CEO of INRIX. 

Mercedes-Benz demoed its newly released mbrace2 infotainment platfrom, which is an upgrade to the company’s existing infotainment offerings. mbrace2 harnesses the cloud and adds Internet access and over-the-air diagnostic capabilties to the original mbrace’s safety, navigation, and concierge features.

mbrace2 also enables drivers to connect with their cars via their smartphones for features like remote start and remote unlock and lock. mbrace2 will debut as standard equipment on most model 2013 vehicles, including the C- and E-Class.

Elektrobit debuted the latest version of its software for developing vehicle user interfaces, the EB GUIDE 5.3. The software comes equipped with new rich multi-touch features and performance improvements.

The range of developments extends from digital dashboards to navigation and infotainment systems and from the low-end to the high-end head units and instrument clusters.

The new release supports 3D effects and animations, multi-touch, vector graphics and chip-specific graphic solutions. The company also outlined plans for supporting various operating system and silicon chips for developing EB GUIDE applications.            

TuneIn joined the Livio Connect software network, a middleware framework protocol that provides consumers access to a leading service for listening to music, sports and news in a safe environment while driving with a smartphone.

The protocol will act as a common language that allows users to access 60,000-plus radio stations by way of TuneIn apps being run on iOS or Android phones.

Silicon and software provider CSR unveiled RoadTunes ADK 3.0, a new application development kit (ADK) for its Bluetooth hands-free solution for in-car infotainment systems.

This latest ADK release also offers customers the Livio Connect API, which attempts to bring safe smartphone app interaction while driving—starting with Internet radio—by mapping apps controls to the built-in buttons on a car stereo.

Elsewhere, the GENIVI Alliance announced that six new products have been approved compliant to the recently updated GENIVI Compliance 2.0 specification. GENIVI Compliance 2.0 increases strictness by specifying more required components and moving some optional components to "required status."

Companies with approved 2.0 compliant product offerings include: Accenture, Intel/Samsung, Mentor Graphics, MontaVista, Renesas and Wind River. Under Compliance 2.0, GENIVI defines 29 mandatory components, 23 of which are explicitly stated, with a total of 67 components overall when adding optional features.

Building on its $612-million acquisition of Hughes Telematics, which was announced last week, Verizon formed the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars, a group of leading global automotive companies brought together to accelerate the pace of innovation across the automotive and telematics 4G LTE ecosystem.

BMW, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors and Toyota Motor Sales will join Verizon as the initial members of the forum. The group will collaborate and explore ways to deliver connectivity to vehicles of all types, by leveraging open standards and discussing ways to accelerate development of the 4G LTE ecosystem across automotive OEMs, suppliers, device manufacturers, application developers and content publishers.

"As an innovator in the technology industry, Verizon is a natural impetus for this collaboration, which we all expect will include other companies and spur results that will benefit not only the industry, but millions of consumers around the world,” says Tami Erwin, chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless.

For more on our TU Detroit coverage, visit the conference website, follow its Twitter Feet at #TUDetroit, or read the Day One and Day Two Wraps.

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