Infotainment and Telematics units gets more Secured

Argus Cyber Security and STMicroelectronics have come together to serve customers better with enhanced cyber security of connected automotive technologies. As telematics and infotainment units become increasingly complex to support high-value connected services, they become more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

The duo efforts will go into detecting and blocking attacks on vehicle telematics units in real-time and prevent them from proliferating to the in-vehicle network.

Besides integrating Argus Connectivity Protection with ST’s Telemaco3P automotive microprocessor, the joint solution with Argus Lifespan Protection provides automakers with: situational awareness of the cyber health of their fleets on the road. The integrated offering provides a critical piece in a multi-layered approach to cyber defense, helping automakers secure vehicles and ensuring the safety of drivers and the public.

Besides enhancing connected automotive technologies, the other benefits of the joint solution include insights into emerging threats through big data analytics, and the ability to mitigate new threats through security updates over-the-air and enhance the secure deployment of remote services (applications, SW updates).

The Telemaco3P solution with Argus Connectivity and Lifespan Protection and its cross-platform operating system capabilities (compatible with Linux, QNX, Android and more) is on display during CES 2018.

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KITT is no longer a fantasy: Assessing the rise in infotainment for connected cars

Back in 1982, when intelligent assistant KITT from the hit TV show Knight Rider first hit our screens, the most sophisticated info-entertainment tech inside your car was probably a radio and cassette deck.

We’ve come a long way in the past 35 years. According to research firm Gartner, by 2020 there will be 250 million connected cars on the world’s roads. But just how far off are we from having our own KITTs installed in those connected vehicles?

KITT was able to drive as well as provide Michael Knight with all the information he needed through a voice interface. While we’ll undoubtedly find autonomous vehicles hitting our roads en masse sometime soon, the immediate future will see more and more car manufacturers pre-installing increasingly sophisticated intelligent assistant software. Rather than commenting on full-blown self-driving vehicles, this article aims to look at the features of those in-car intelligent assistants that are designed to make the driver’s life easier, safer and more enjoyable.

This year has already seen a spate of announcements from carmakers who have been clamouring to sign up intelligent assistants. Amongst the deals being made, Microsoft will supply Cortana to cars made by BMW and Nissan, Ford has reached a deal with Amazon to equip some of its vehicles with Alexa, while Hyundai has announced that it will make its cars partially voice controlled using Google Assistant. Toyota has announced a concept car that features its own intelligent assistant called Yui too.

My company, Sherpa, has also recently reached an agreement with a major car manufacturer to install our intelligent assistant into their connected cars.

So what kind of functionality will this AI-powered software have, and what tasks can we expect it to be able to carry out?

While some manufacturers already have smartphone apps and in-built touch screen functionality, it’s clear that voice control will be the major player. The adoption of voice in other sectors – such as office environments – is more intrusive, but the hermetic space of the car makes it the perfect place to speak to your virtual assistant and the added bonus of creating safer driving experiences further enhances the likelihood of mass adoption.

It is however important to point out that voice recognition, although now highly advanced in the English language, still only offers varying support for other languages. Although this is coming, it’s a major factor to take into consideration for car manufacturers.

As for the tasks we should expect our assistants to perform, the limits are really only in our imaginations. In general terms, a dedicated automotive assistant that has a deep understanding of your car and your driving-related activity will undoubtedly mitigate distraction and enhance the overall driving experience.

An in-car intelligent assistant should be able to answer not only any question a driver has about their vehicle, but also queries about the environment surrounding it, as well as being able to provide information and recommendations to the occupants.

It could help schedule a service when needed or tell the driver about tyre wear, for example. It would also allow drivers to the ability to start their car from a distance, turn on the heating (no more scraping ice on those frosty mornings!), adjust air conditioning, lock the vehicle doors – and check they’re locked, or open your garage door.

As well as providing directions and traffic updates – something we now take for granted – the in-car assistant would inform about places of interest nearby, find and book a table at a restaurant, tell you about good nearby parking, or let attendees know if you’re running later for a meeting.

On top of carrying out a variety of tasks, the assistant will also learn from your actions and interests, being able to recommend restaurants that serve food you like, or play music by your preferred artists. And with the inevitable arrival of autonomous cars, the automotive assistant will eventually provide a full-blown info-entertainment experience.

“In the very long play we can see vehicles becoming a real entertainment space – an extension of people’s lounges,” says Jack Wetherill, a tech analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “The real endgame is we all put our feet up and watch movies, the digital assistant does the driving.”

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Qualcomm to work with Geely to power next-gen infotainment systems

Qualcomm has announced its Snapdragon automotive platforms have been selected for inclusion in the next generation of infotainment systems in Geely vehicles.

The high-performing multimedia and graphics capabilities of Snapdragon 820Am platform will benefit the future generations of iNTEC, the Chinese automaker’s technology package. The package includes G-Netlink, a system that allows drivers to interface with their vehicles through various ways, including remote control via app to lock, or unlocking the vehicle.

“China is emerging as a source of automotive innovation, not only benefiting Chinese customers but also the rest of the world, by quickly adopting and commercialising leading edge car technology,” said Patrick Little, SVP and general manager for automotive at Qualcomm. “We are pleased to work with Geely and the Chinese automotive ecosystem to help define the future of connected car experiences and use our industry-leading technologies to accelerate its realisation.”

Qualcomm has also unveiled the new Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017. These next-generation ultrasonic fingerprint solutions will bring new and enhanced features to the previous generation Qualcomm Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology.

The suite brings some interesting features such as, sensors for Display, Glass and Metal, detection of directional gestures, and underwater fingerprint match and device wake-up. It is also the first commercially announced integrated ultrasonic-based mobile solution to detect heart beat and blood flow for improved mobile authentication experiences.

The Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensor for Display is the mobile industry’s first commercially announced multi-functional ultrasonic solution capable of scanning through OLED display stacks of up to 1200um, along with enrolling and matching. However, the Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors for Glass and Metal are the first commercially announced to scan through up to 800 µm of cover glass and up to 650 µm of aluminium. 

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Toyota moves to Automotive Grade Linux for infotainment – BlackBerry hits back

Toyota has adopted the Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) platform for its infotainment systems, according to the foundation, with the 2018 Toyota Camry the first vehicle to have it installed.

The announcement was made at the Automotive Linux Summit in Tokyo, with plans to debut ‘late summer’ this year, rolling out to ‘most’ Toyota and Lexus vehicles in North America.

More than 100 members are currently part of AGL, an open source project hosted by The Linux Foundation, with the aim to “bring together automakers, suppliers and technology companies to accelerate the development and adoption of a fully open software stack for the connected car”, as the company puts it.

“Toyota is an early adopter of Linux and open source and has been an active members and contributor to AGL for several years,” said Dan Cauchy, executive director of Automotive Grade Linux in a statement. “They have been a driving force behind the development of the AGL infotainment platform, and we are excited to see the traction that it’s gaining across the industry.”

This may have been bad news for BlackBerry, for whom Toyota was a flagship customer of its QNX software, yet Marty Beard, chief operating officer, aimed to dispel any issues by saying QNX’s status is ‘rock solid’ and the company’s ‘future in the rest of the connected car is brighter than ever.’

Beard cited BlackBerry’s various safety-certified solutions as how the company is broadening its portfolio beyond infotainment, adding that the company is winning business with Japanese carmakers and Tier 1 suppliers and that Toyota ‘will appreciate the unique value we bring in safety critical systems’.

“We agree Auto Grade Linux, like regular Linux and Android, will have market share in automotive infotainment,” Beard wrote. “But none of these challenger platforms is close to displacing BlackBerry QNX in safety-critical modules, areas that are growing faster than infotainment in the modern software-defined car.”

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Building Trust in Autonomous Vehicles: Active Safety Systems Must Converge with In-Vehicle Infotainment

This is the third in a series of blog posts based on Intel research into human-machine interfaces (HMIs) for automated driving. Read the first and second in this series.

In my previous articles, I’ve written about why it’s so important to design experiences that build trust and confidence in automated vehicles. Now I’ll go over some of the technologies that work inside the vehicle to support these experiences and how we can design systems to provide more seamless interactions between a vehicle and its passengers.

Taking a step back, let’s start with a word: convergence. Convergence is the single greatest accelerator for the development and adoption of automated and fully autonomous vehicles. We are converging the automotive industry with the technology industry. Mechanical engines with computing engines. Physical experiences with digital experiences.

For the purposes of this article, let’s explore the convergence of two previously disparate systems within the vehicle itself: active safety and infotainment.

 

Where Two Systems Meet

A stock image tries to recreate the mood of Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam" by having a person touch a computer screen.

Active safety systems are as old as cars themselves. These are features that were designed to prevent accidents — think steering and brakes. More recently, active safety systems have expanded to include features like brake assist, adaptive cruise control and collision warning.

On the other hand, in-vehicle infotainment was created for the pure enjoyment of the driver and his or her passengers. It started with the radio. Later, cassette and CD players were added to the mix. Today, a car’s entertainment might include navigation systems, video players and compatibility with the driver’s smartphone. When we talk about HMI, this is where it lives. The in-vehicle infotainment system is responsible for all interactions between a vehicle and its occupants.

Historically, a vehicle’s infotainment and active safety systems have been strictly separated. They’re often developed by entirely different engineering teams. However, in a highly or fully autonomous vehicle, active safety systems need to interact with the driver or passengers — for example, to warn of a potential collision. Simply put, these two systems need to start working together.

 

A Single Platform

An automated BMW dashboard with hands-off steering.

The solution my team at Intel has proposed is to converge the vehicle’s active safety and infotainment systems into a unified architecture. This architecture must link self-driving functionality with visual, audible and other communication with passengers.

Architectural convergence can take a variety of forms. Vehicle engineers could physically converge active safety and infotainment systems onto a single high performance compute cluster. They could also keep them separate, but connected. Either way, engineering teams have a new challenge: How can they safely and securely link two very different systems in a way that delivers seamless communication — and a cohesive experience — to passengers?

We believe that a single platform is the most elegant solution to this challenge. One system that delivers infotainment and HMI interactions, while also performing the active safety functions of the vehicle, affords exciting new opportunities for tight integration.

 

Overcoming Challenges

A man lets his new road trip buddy, his automated vehicle, take over the driving.

That said, converging these systems requires specialized hardware separation to ensure that safety systems with high Automotive Safety Integrity Levels (ASILs) are protected and take priority over noncritical safety functions. In other words, collision avoidance is more important than, say, navigation. One excellent way to help isolate these functions is with Intel Virtualization Technology, which allows multiple workloads to share a common set of resources while maintaining full isolation from each other.

Even if active safety and infotainment systems aren’t physically converged, they must still achieve convergence at a system level, with highly secure and deterministic mechanisms to communicate with each other. For example, if the active safety system needs to notify passengers of a situation immediately, it must have a secure channel to the infotainment system. Furthermore, whatever had been taking place on the infotainment system must be interrupted at once to deliver the safety message. Contrary to traditional design, these mechanisms will now likely require conformance to an ASIL for the very first time.

But this challenge may not be as difficult as it seems. Again, hardware virtualization can provide an isolated extension of the active safety system, delivering the safety and security isolation needed to support a converged architecture.

These are early days for automated vehicles. But if they are to truly succeed in the market, it will be critical to design trust interactions that make drivers and passengers feel safe, comfortable, confident and in control. To learn more about the road ahead for automated vehicles, visit intel.com/automotive. For more on Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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