Sunday, April 21, 2024

In-vehicle Infotainment (IVI) Systems: Design challenges and considerations

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Configurability
Digital displays provide a good intuitive user interface by providing touch-based control. With the advancements in IVI, the amount of information available (instrument clusters, engine diagnostics, fuel calculators, etc.) is a lot more than what a single screen can display. Allowing the manufacturer or the driver to customize these displays adds very high value to the solution.

Sirish Batchu, Head of Engineering, India Operations, Bosch Car Multimedia says, “When it comes to designing in-vehicle infotainment systems, the challenges are multifold. The systems have to be designed so that they are fit to be used inside the vehicle. Various aspects like driver distraction, reliability, robustness, fail safe operation, lifetime management, etc. have to be critically considered during the design. Not only the functionality but also the form-factor and aesthetics have to be critically considered since the infotainment systems are a part of the vehicle dashboard. The attention to the look and feel, the plastics, buttons, displays & HMI play an important role which comprise the overall design of the IVI systems.”

S Natarajan, Country Business Manager, Embedded Market, Intel South Asia added, “Longer design, development, testing & qualification cycles along with the lack of a widely used standard for IVI systems are amongst the major headaches for our design engineers. Here, at Intel, we foresee the need for cars to become increasingly intelligent and are utilizing our expertise in personal computing, software, security and cloud computing to drive innovation and enhance the in-vehicle experience as well driver and passenger safety.”

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Hardware Considerations
The following points are an indicator of the hardware requirements for IVI. Mr Batchu explains, “The hardware components that are used inside these systems are expected to be Automotive-grade. Unlike the consumer electronics, which are predominantly used inside a safe domestic environment, the systems installed inside the vehicles are subject to very harsh conditions (e.g. temperature, dust, moisture, vibration, etc.). Moreover the lifetime expectancy of these components is also much higher since the IVI systems form an integral part of the car dash and are not in the typical use-and throw mould. To take an example, in the mobile phones (which is a comparable device considering the features), one can afford to experience a system hang which can be easily overcome by rebooting the device. However such a scenario is not acceptable in an automotive environment. Furthermore with the increasing software content towards realizing the features in these systems, it becomes very complex to meet the real-time performance requirements.”

 [stextbox id=”info” caption=”The main hardware requirements for an IVI system”]• It should possess a processor of at least one gigahertz processing speed along with a dedicated Graphics Controller to support navigation, 2D and 3D displays.
• It should have a minimum of two channels of audio support with the possibility for multiple high resolution Graphics Display Unit.
• A CAN bus to interface within the vehicle network.
• Media-Oriented Systems Transport(MOST) for high speed video/audio signal transfer, Bluetooth, WiFi, and Ethernet connectivity.
• UART, USB connectors for various consumer electronics devices.
• Low power consumption.
• Should be able to support fast boot-up.
• Should be able to match automotive standards for In-Vehicle applications.
• The hardware should support at least one of the following operating systems: Linux, Android, Ubuntu, MeeGo, MontaVista.[/stextbox]

 [stextbox id=”info” caption=”A list of some of the leading Automotive-Specific hardware platforms”]• Renesas R-Car H1 (Marzen)
• Freescale i.mx6q Sabre-light
• Freescale i.mx53 Sabre
• Freescale i.mx53 QSB
• Intel Atom Crossville[/stextbox]

 [stextbox id=”info” caption=”The way forward”]The IVI systems are keeping pace with the latest and greatest developments in the mobile and the media electronics space and are now able to provide most of the features that are available in the smartphones. A few of the exciting features include navigation, internet & cloud connectivity, apps like facebook, twitter, etc., video functions, internet radio, smartphone integration, Voice recognition (Natural language), gesture recognition, multitouch displays, etc., Driver assistance functions like curve warning, traffic sign recognition, reverse parking assistance, surround view. Bluetooth hands-free and other phone functions are almost a given in al lthe systems nowadays. There are also Dual-View displays (where the driver and the co-passenger get to see different content due to their angle of viewing), Head-up Displays (HUDs) providing augmented reality applications on the vehicle windscreen which are increasingly becoming popular. There is no doubt that the way forward for IVI is a bright one.[/stextbox]

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