The digital cockpit has arrived!
The nation which was once obsessed with mileage is now considering “connectivity” and “user experience” in the cockpit as the major criteria to buy a car. Today’s consumers do not regard the “car” as a means of transportation to get somewhere. They also desire to turn their journey into an experience, enhanced by best-in class connectivity and seamless access to information and entertainment on large displays by the click of an app.
Automotive manufacturers are now responding to this consumer demand and cars are now marketed more on the richness of the cockpit electronics experience such as digital instrument clusters and connected infotainment systems with large displays to enable easy and intuitive interaction with driving information and
Cluster - Analog to Hybrid and Digital
In India, we see that the market is evolving from analog instrument clusters to LCD and Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display-based clusters. The TFT displays offer an enhanced graphical user interface and a host of digital information - such as “turn by turn” navigation and radio data - in an easy to read manner.
The next few years are likely to witness the adoption of 7-inches and above displays in clusters. These will be either hybrid or fully digital, enabling the OEMs to push more relevant content such as drive mode, parking view, navigation etc. on the display. In addition, all-digital clusters have the benefit of being “future proof”, as carmakers can support any new feature through a software upgrade over-the-air versus having to design a new instrument cluster.
Visteon is one of the largest suppliers of instrument clusters to auto manufacturers globally and is leading the industry in the transition to all-digital clusters. Visteon’s mid- to high-end instrument cluster platforms are the most successful cluster technology platforms in the industry.
The rise of display audio
Infotainment systems that offer entertainment and driving information features such as multimedia and navigation comprise the largest segment of the automotive cockpit electronics market.
Consumers today expect seamless connectivity and a familiar interface on their infotainment systems with easy access to the data and apps on their smartphones. This has led to the introduction of display audio systems with a 7-inch (or greater) LCD display with smartphone integration.
In the recent years, the market has also witnessed the penetration of smartphone projection technologies, such as Android Auto and CarPlay. These technologies offer a richer, more graphical experience – including navigation and media playback – which has resulted in strong demand for integration of these technologies in the vehicle across all systems - from entry to high end.
Luxury vehicles are offering infotainment systems with larger displays, with connectivity (WiFi support), apps and
navigation. These systems will also be expected to be refreshed and updated over-the-air.
Visteon was the first supplier to recognize the need to make in-vehicle infotainment systems a mobile computing platform and launched the Phoenix infotainment platform at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. Phoenix in unique in the sense that it uses HTML5 technology as the foundation for running apps that can access local device and internet-based resources to offer a cutting-edge infotainment experience.
Phoenix is radically different from today’s infotainment systems, which are mostly static without the possibility of third-party apps. Besides built-in applications such as AM/FM Tuner, USB/SD Multimedia, Bluetooth hands-free and audio, and navigation, Phoenix allows auto manufacturers to offer infotainment systems that can continually offer new apps developed by in-house or by third parties. The technology is designed to be inherently cloudaware through its use of HTML5 and other internet-oriented technologies.
Visteon has won several customer programmes with the Phoenix solution and we expect to continue to do well in the entry/ mid-segment. Additionally, we are developing our capabilities in embedded Android for Automotive, which we expect to be a key technology for the next generation of high-end infotainment systems.
Visteon was the first supplier to introduce a cockpit domain controller, called SmartCore, which leverages new silicon and software technologies to offer an integrated instrument cluster plus infotainment system on a single system-on-chip or SOC. This is the prevailing trend in consolidating cockpit electronics and offering enhanced processing power, and Visteon has the lead in providing these solutions with four OEM programmes in development – with the first market launch occurring this year.
At CES 2018, we demonstrated our Android capabilities with an Android-based infotainment solution as well as a SmartCore solution that offers integration of the instrument cluster and Android-based infotainment system.
We are working to deploy the SAE cyber security standard, J3061. One of the key foundations of J3061 is “secure development life cycle,” which aims to improve the hardware and software security through ground-up design.
At Visteon, we are taking a very pragmatic approach. One of our key pillars is a secure boot – ensuring that only very trusted software inside the electronic control unit (ECU) is being used and protected. Second is secure communications – if you are connected to the internet, we must make sure the communication is secure. The third pillar is secure storage of customer and vehicle data. The fourth pillar is secure software updates.
We want to bring in the security focus in our DNA. for example, when writing software, we ensure that we are inputs and outputs are validated and use thread-safe, secure application programming interfaces (APIs).
With the combination of Phoenix infotainment, smartphone projection technology, the SmartCore domain controller platform, the new embedded Android capability and conformance to J3061 we are in a strong position to create the solutions for the next generation of automotive cockpit solutions.
Visteon’s Smartcore leverages new silicon and software technologies to offer an integrated instrument cluster plus infotainment system on a single system-on-chip
Arun Devaraj, Head Engineering– India and Korea, Visteon India