Automotive Technology Slides into the Driver’s Seat at CES 2018

January 17, 2018

Introduction

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas has become one of the biggest and most influential trade shows in the world. Companies of all sizes from across the technology spectrum make their way to the Nevada desert every year to show off their latest innovations, network with potential partners, generate brand buzz and maybe drop a dollar or two in the casino after dinner.

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Secure Connections Between Smartphones and In-Vehicle Systems

January 5, 2018

Introduction

This blog describes a high-level approach to securing and authenticating the connection link between in-vehicle systems and smartphone applications. A secure link is needed in cases such as vehicle data collection, receiving firmware updates (using store and forward model), enabling premium features and other scenarios.

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Understanding the Amazon Alexa APIs for In-Vehicle Use: Part II

December 18, 2017

Introduction

This two-part blog post explores the Amazon Alexa APIs and their applicability for in-vehicle use.

Part I of the series  provided an overview of Alexa and its current uses in an automotive context. Part II describes specific Alexa functions and how they can be used in automotive systems, and then provides a possible implementation architecture with a focus on using Alexa in the vehicle.

 

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Understanding the Amazon Alexa APIs for In-Vehicle Use: Part I

December 6, 2017

 

Introduction

 

This two-part blog post will explore Amazon Alexa APIs and their applicability for in-vehicle use.

Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is currently the dominant voice recognition technology for in-home devices. Thanks to an open development ecosystem, users can choose from Amazon’s own devices (such as Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, etc.) as well as various third-party products including smart speakers, smart TVs, in-vehicle assistants, etc. Through its Skills APIs, Amazon has opened a powerful ecosystem for many third-party devices and services, dramatically extending Alexa’s capabilities.

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Smartphone Gateway Connectivity via USB

November 3, 2017

Introduction

An earlier post about over the air updates via the smartphone discussed the need for in-vehicle systems to open a secure connection to the cloud, via the smartphone, to verify the integrity and authenticity of software updates. This post examines how to achieve the same result with a USB connection, describes the standard USB connectivity options between smartphone and in-vehicle head-units, and discusses the difficulties of obtaining internet connectivity out of the box with those approaches.

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The Role of Smart Devices in the Modern Automotive Experience

October 15, 2017

 

Introduction

Like virtually every other industry in the world, the automotive sector has been profoundly affected by the explosion of smart devices. Today, smartphones let millions of people enjoy the convenience of ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft or car-sharing services like Zipcar or car2go. Smartphones can also extend the capabilities of the car itself with over-the-air updates, customization, internet connectivity and more. And in the not-too-distant future, when self-driving cars are shared between multiple users, smart devices will carry the user’s identity from vehicle to vehicle, a

llowing for instant personalization.

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The Path to the Future of Connected Cars: Over the Air and Through the Phone

July 6, 2017

Thanks to the proliferation of mobile phones, connected consumer electronics devices and cloud-based software, consumers have come to expect automatic, seamless over-the-air (OTA) updates that don’t disrupt their device usage.  As today’s cars become more and more technologically advanced, rolling off the line with up to 100 computers and millions of lines of code, it is now possible to update vehicles the same way we update our phones.  For car makers, the ability to push out OTA updates to their customers decreases maintenance, saves money by reducing recalls and increases customer satisfaction. Despite these advantages, most cars on the road today don’t yet have this capability, and drivers who want to update their automotive software have to either bring their vehicle into the dealership or download software to a thumb drive. The high-end models (led by Tesla) that do come with OTA capabilities use built-in modems, adding hardware and on-going cellular data expense to the vehicle.  While it may seem that the majority of drivers on the road will miss out on seamless OTA updates in the short-term unless they upgrade to the latest and greatest luxury sedan, there is in fact a simple and elegant solution that doesn’t require a built-in device, a solution that every driver already carries around in their hand everyday: the ubiquitous and versatile smartphone.

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Is Software Finally "Eating" the Car?

June 8, 2017

In 2011, Silicon Valley luminary Marc Andreesen famously wrote that “software is eating the world,” a sentiment one would have been hard-pressed to argue against even six years ago. We may say “cloud computing” instead of simply “software” these days, but there is no denying the effects of technological transformation, as once-strong brick and mortar mainstays like Blockbuster, Borders, and the neighborhood record store have fallen like so many bowling pins to the onslaught of digital bulwarks Amazon, Netflix, Apple et al.

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Radio Revolution

May 30, 2017

For over 50 years, the radio experience in cars has remained virtually unchanged. The simple thrill of turning a dial to a set frequency and magically receiving audio through the cabin speakers was thoroughly satisfying for generations of drivers. But this is a new era, and smartphones and internet radio have transformed listener expectations. It should come as no surprise that the once static in-car radio experience is being transformed by new apps that provide a richer UI with album art, metadata, and the ability to filter and search for specific stations or genres.

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