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Designing GENIVI-based infotainment systems

Posted: 27 Nov 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GENIVI 5.0? in-vehicle infotainment? HMI? audio-video processing? Linux?

In the area of in-vehicle networking, Ethernet and a specific variant for audio-video applications are beginning to appear as replacements for existing MOST-based buses. These networks use a set of protocols that are being developed by the IEEE 802.1 Audio/Video Bridging (AVB) Task Group (figure 2). There are four primary differences between the AVB architecture and existing 802.11 Ethernet architectures; for example, precise sound and video synchronisation (nobody wants to watch a movie with an out of sync sound track). The extensions also cover the ability to screen out or ignore certain network devices C important on a mixed, in-vehicle network. In the vehicle there may be several AVB domains covering camera feeds, rear-screen entertainment, and navigation information, for example.

Figure 2: Audio/Video Bridging (AVB) multimedia network example with non-AVB domains.

Separating hardware
Some car makers and designers plan to keep ECU functions physically separate, for reasons relating to safety, supply chain, or even positioning within the vehicle. In infotainment, there may be units connected to the existing vehicle bus (CAN, Lin, Flexray based) to manage, for example, audio; but these will also need input from the infotainment head unit. New protocols are emerging in the vehicle to allow secure communication between these different hardware sub-systems. GENIVI has working groups looking at the Franca IDL framework, an interface description language that will allow different sub-systems to communicate with each other.

In the future, designers will have the opportunity to consolidate some of these functions using virtualisation, combining multiple different sub-systems on a single SoC platform. Embedded software hypervisors provide the resource management and security necessary to successfully manage multiple different domains and reduce the overall number of ECUs needed.

Conclusion
Automotive OEMs are starting to rely on proven innovations through software such as the GENIVI platform. But equally important is having hardware that can support the software functionality in a usable way. Looking ahead, software designers can expect more software development around heads-up display units, gesture recognition, and speech recognition, as well as more robust vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-cloud (V2C) connections. Matching reliable, high-performance hardware platforms with the right integration layers at an affordable price will be a critical part of the puzzle as IVI technology continues to evolve and gain wider acceptance.

About the author
Andrew Patterson is a business development director for the Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division, specialising in the automotive market, and involved in solutions for Infotainment, Instrument Cluster and AUTOSAR-based ECUs. Prior to Mentor, Andrew spent over 25 years in the design automation market specialising in a wide range of technologies, automotive simulation model development, virtual prototyping, and mechatronics. Andrew holds a Masters degree in Electronic Engineering and Electrical Sciences from Cambridge University, UK.

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