Alexa Auto SDK Launched

August 14, 2018

Introduction

Our two-part blog post (part 1) and (part 2) published at the end of 2017 explored the Alexa Device APIs and their applicability for in-vehicle use. At CES 2018, Amazon announced Alexa extensions specifically for vehicles (see: https://blog.abaltatech.com/alexaupdates) but didn’t publicly release actual code or SDKs. On August 9th, 2018 Amazon released the first version of the Alexa Auto SDK on github. This blog describes what is included in the new SDK release.

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Autonomous Vehicles: The Data Problem

April 5, 2018

Introduction

Recent developments in the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI), specifically the advancement of deep learning and increased computing power, have made autonomous driving feasible for the first time. This blog describes the transition from code-centric algorithms into data-centric algorithms that are necessary for deep learning. Though the results achieved by these new methods are significant, they require large amounts of training data and raise problems around the storing and transmission of data from the autonomous vehicles.

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The Rise of the Automotive Voice Assistant

March 9, 2018

Introduction

 Although it may appear that voice recognition products burst into the mainstream fully formed a few years ago, in truth the technology has been around in one shape or another for several decades.

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Writing Secure Automotive C++ Software Using MISRA Guidelines

February 28, 2018

Introduction

With the rapid increase in software components and lines of code that go into modern automotive systems, there is a corresponding rise in the risk of introducing critical bugs. Competitive pressure and the drive to get new features to market faster also leave less time to test and improve software.  As vehicles become more and more connected, these circumstances combine to leave automotive systems more vulnerable to hacking than ever before.   

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Is Car Ownership Headed Toward the Junkyard?

February 16, 2018

People love to own cars. We give them names, write songs about them, and parade them slowly and lovingly through the center of town. We devote endless hours to polishing, tinkering, repairing and detailing them. Over time, cars can transition from mere possessions into treasured keepsakes that tell the stories of our lives and families, housing memories, milestones and experiences that mark the passage of time as well as miles.

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Embedded Modem or Smartphone: What is the Best Way to Bring the Internet to the Car?

February 2, 2018

More and more automakers are putting modems in their vehicles to essentially turn the car into a smartphone on wheels. An embedded modem is “always on” even when the car is not, opening the door to features like remote vehicle start, locking/unlocking, remote car diagnosis and vehicle tracking. The car owner can then easily manage these functions through a smartphone companion app provided by the automaker.

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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 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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