Thursday, November 5, 2009

LTE Connected Car - The magic is in the software

There is no doubt that without LTE, the connected car wouldn't be a reality.  Network infrastructure, LTE modems, advanced antennas, and piles of routers--your traditional carrier conceerns--are all absolute necessities.  That's a lot of cutting-edge hardware that's needed to deliver all those bits.  But what are you going to do with that flood of bandwidth to the car?

You Need Software. 

I know I'm biased here--my degree is in Comp Sci, I've programmed for the majority of my career, and I work for a software company. So of course I think software's important.  But without all those magic bits, how else could you take advantage of the capabilities of the cloud?  You need integrated software stacks, multimedia codecs, virtual execution environments, advanced HMI capabilities with attractive graphics, vehicle connections, bluetooth and portable device connectivity, Internet protocols, and all the sophisticated software that goes into the most advanced in-vehicle infotainment system around.

What exactly does that look like?  Quite simply, it is the QNX CAR software stack, and it looks like this:

(If you need a microscope to read this, click on the image for a bigger version.)

Yep, you're right.  That's a whopping pile of code.  If you're a software guy like me, you'll understand that every one of those blocks represents hundreds to thousands of lines of carefully crafted and tested source.  And that it's quite a bit of work to put that together.  And that it would take months or even years to craft something that contains all those smoothly interworking pieces.  The ng Connect program wanted something available today and not five years from now, so the Connected Car started with QNX CAR to make their magic.

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