Rabu, 06 November 2013

What's the word on HTML5?

Ten videos on HTML5 in the car. Actually, there are only nine — but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Paul Leroux
Has it been two years already? In November 2011, a group of my QNX colleagues, including Andy Gryc, launched a video series on using HTML5 in the car. They realized that HTML5 holds enormous potential for automotive infotainment, from reducing industry fragmentation to helping head units keep pace with the blistering rate of change in the mobile industry. They also realized it was important to get the word out — to help people understand that the power of HTML5 extends far beyond the ability to create web pages. And so, they invited a variety of thought leaders and industry experts with HTML5 experience to stand in front of the camera and share their stories.

All of which to say, if you're interested in the future of HTML5 in the car, and in what thought leaders from companies such as OnStar, Audi, Gartner, Pandora, TCS, and QNX have to say about it, you've come to the right place. So let's get started, shall we?

Interview with Steve Schwinke of OnStar
Andy Gryc catches up with Steve Schwinke, director of advanced technology for OnStar, who is bullish on the both the short- and long-term benefits of HTML5:

Interview with Mathias Haliger of Audi
Derek Kuhn of QNX sits down with Mathias Haliger, head of MMI system architecture at Audi AG, who discusses the importance of HTML5 to his company and to the industry at large:

The analyst perspective: Thilo Koslowski of Gartner
Andy gets together with Thilo Koslowski, VP Distinguished Analyst at Gartner, to discuss the notion of controlled openness for the car — and how HTML5 fits into the picture:

Interview with Tom Conrad of Pandora
Andy meets up with Tom Conrad, CTO at Pandora, to get his take on the benefits of standardizing on HTML5 across markets:

Interview with Michael Camp of TCS
Andy Gryc sits down with Michael Camp, director of engineering for in-car telematics at TeleCommunication Systems (TCS), to get a software supplier's perspective on HTML5:

Interview with Matthew Staikos
Andy talks with Matthew Staikos, former web-technology manager at BlackBerry, about the impact of HTML5 on hardware options, memory usage, and app stores:

The myth buster interview
Andy and Kerry Johnson get together to discuss how HTML5 apps can deliver snappy performance, run without a Web browser, and even work without an Internet connection:

Interview with Sheridan Ethier
Andy drops in on Sheridan Ethier, manager of the QNX CAR Platform development team, to get a developer's perspective on HTML5:

Kickoff video
And last but not least, here is the video that started it all. Andy Gryc gives his take on why he believes HTML5 is destined to become the foundation for next-gen automotive apps:

Blooper video
Did I say last but not least? Sorry, I have one more video that you just have to see:

Senin, 04 November 2013

What happens when autonomous becomes ubiquitous?

Seventeen ways in which the self-driving car will transform how we live.

Let’s speculate that at least 25% of cars on the road are autonomous — and that those cars are sufficiently advanced to operate without a human driver. Let’s also assume that the legal issues have been sorted out somehow.

How would this impact society?

  • The elderly could maintain their independence. Even if they have lost the ability to drive, they could still get groceries, go to appointments, visit family and friends, or just go for a drive.
  • Cars could chauffer intoxicated folks safely home — no more drunk drivers.
  • Municipalities could get rid of buses and trains, and replace them with fleets of vehicles that would pick people up and drop them off exactly where they want to go. Mass transit would become individual transit.
  • Car sharing would become more popular, as the cost could be spread among multiple people. Friends, family members, or neighbors could chip in to own a single car, reducing pollution as well as costs. The cars would shuffle themselves to where they are needed, depending on everyone’s individual needs.
  • Fewer vehicles would be produced, but they would be more expensive. This could drive some smaller automakers out of business or force more industry consolidation.
  • Cities could get rid of most parking lots and garages, freeing up valuable real estate for homes, businesses, or parks.
  • Taxi companies would either go out of business or convert over to autonomous piloted vehicles. Each taxi could be equipped with anti-theft measures, alerting police if, say, the taxi detects it is being boarded onto a truck.
  • We could have fewer roads with higher capacities. Self-directed cars would be better equipped to negotiate inter-vehicle space, being more “polite” to other vehicles; they would also enable greater traffic density.
  • Instead of creating traffic jams, heavy traffic would maintain a steady pace, since the vehicles would operate as a single platoon.
  • Autonomous cars could completely avoid roads under construction and scatter themselves evenly throughout the surrounding route corridors to minimize the impact on detour routes.
  • There would be no more hunting for parking spots downtown. Instead, people could tell their cars to go find a nearby parking spot and use their smartphones to summon the cars back once they’re ready to leave.
  • Concerts or sporting events would operate more smoothly, as cars could coordinate where they’re parking. The flow of vehicles exiting from events would be more like a ballet than a mosh pit.
  • Kids growing up with autonomous cars would enjoy a new level of independence. They could get to soccer games without needing mom or dad to drive them. Parents could program the car to drive the children to fixed destinations: sports game and home.
  • School buses could become a thing of the past. School boards could manage fleets of cars that would pick up the children as needed by geographic grouping.
  • You could send your car out for errands, and companies would spring up to cater to “driverless” cars. For example, you could set up your grocery list online and send your car to pick them up; a clerk would fill your car with your groceries when it shows up at the supermarket.
  • Rental car companies could start offering cars that come to you when you need them. Renting cars may become more popular than owning them, since people who drive infrequently could pay by the ride, as opposed to paying the capital cost of owning a vehicle.
  • Cars would become like living rooms and people would enjoy the ride like never before — reading, conversing, exercising, watching TV. Some people may even give up their home to adopt a completely mobile existence.

Rabu, 30 Oktober 2013

My top moments of 2013 — so far

Paul Leroux
Yes, I know, 2013 isn’t over yet. But it’s been such a milestone year for our automotive business that I can’t wait another two months to talk about it. And besides, you’ll be busy as an elf at the end of December, visiting family and friends, skiing the Rockies, or buying exercise equipment to compensate for all those holiday carbs. Which means if I wait, you’ll never get to read this. So let’s get started.

We unveil a totally new (and totally cool) technology concept car
Times Square. We were there.
It all began at 2013 CES, when we took the wraps off the latest QNX technology concept car — a one-of-a-kind Bentley Continental GT. The QNX concept team outfitted the Bentley with an array of technologies, including a high-definition DLP display, a 3D rear-view camera, cloud-based voice recognition, smartphone connectivity, and… oh heck, just read the blog post to get the full skinny.

Even if you weren’t at CES, you could still see the car in action. Brian Cooley of CNET, Michael Guillory of Texas Instruments, the folks at Elektrobit, and Discovery Canada’s Daily Planet were just some of the individuals and organizations who posted videos. You could also connect to the car through a nifty web app. Heck, you could even see the Bentley’s dash on the big screen in Times Square, thanks to the promotional efforts of Elektrobit, who also created the 3D navigation software for the concept car.

We ship the platform
We wanted to drive into CES with all cylinders firing, so we also released version 2.0 of the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment. In fact, several customers in the U.S., Germany, Japan, and China had already started to use the platform, through participation in an early access program. Which brings me to the next milestone...

Delphi boards the platform
The first of many.
Also at CES, Delphi, a global automotive supplier and long-time QNX customer, announced that version 2.0 of the QNX CAR Platform will form the basis of its next-generation infotainment systems. As it turned out, this was just one of several QNX CAR customer announcements in 2013 — but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We have the good fortune to be featured in Fortune
Fast forward to April, when Fortune magazine took a look at how QNX Software Systems evolved from its roots in the early 1980s to become a major automotive player. Bad news: you need a subscription to read the article on the Fortune website. Good news: you can read the same article for free on CNN Money. ;-)

A music platform sets the tone for our platform
In April, 7digital, a digital music provider, announced that it will integrate its 23+ million track catalogue with the QNX CAR Platform. It didn't take long for several other partners to announce their platform support. These include Renesas (R-Car system-on-chip for high-performance infotainment), AutoNavi (mobile navigation technology for the Chinese market), Kotei (navigation engine for the Japanese market), and Digia (Qt application framework).

We stay focused on distraction
Back in early 2011, Scott Pennock of QNX was selected to chair an ITU-T focus group on driver distraction. The group’s objective was serious and its work was complex, but its ultimate goal was simple: to help reduce collisions. This year, the group wrapped up its work and published several reports — but really, this is only the beginning of QNX and ITU-T efforts in this area.

We help develop a new standard
Goodbye fragmentation; hello
standard APIs.
Industry fragmentation sucks. It means everyone is busy reinventing the wheel when they could be inventing something new instead. So I was delighted to see my colleague Andy Gryc become co-chair of the W3C Automotive and Web Platform Business Group, which has the mandate to accelerate the adoption of web technologies in the car. Currently, the group is working to draft a standard set of JavaScript APIs for accessing vehicle data information. Fragmentation, thy days are numbered.

We launch an auto safety program
A two-handed approach to
helping ADAS developers.
On the one hand, we have a 30-year history in safety-critical systems and proven competency in safety certifications. On the other hand, we have deep experience in automotive software design. So why not join both hands together and allow auto companies to leverage our full expertise when they are building digital instrument clusters, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and other in-car systems with safety requirements?

That’s the question we asked ourselves, and the answer was the new QNX Automotive Safety Program for ISO 26262. The program quickly drew support from several industry players, including Elektrobit, Freescale, NVIDIA, and Texas Instruments.

We jive up the Jeep
A tasty mix of HTML5 & Android
apps, served on a Qt interface,
with OpenGL ES on the side.
If you don’t already know, we use a Jeep Wrangler as our reference vehicle — basically, a demo vehicle outfitted with a stock version of the QNX CAR Platform. This summer, we got to trick out the Jeep with a new, upcoming version of the platform, which adds support for Android apps and for user interfaces based on the Qt 5 framework.

Did I mention? The platform runs Android apps in a separate application container, much like it handles HTML5 apps. This sandboxed approach keeps the app environment cleanly partitioned from the UI, protecting both the UI and the overall system from unpredictable web content. Good, that.

The commonwealth’s leader honors our leader
I only ate one piece. Honest.
Okay, this one has nothing to do with automotive, but I couldn’t resist. Dan Dodge, our CEO and co-founder, received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his many achievements and contributions to Canadian society. To celebrate, we gave Dan a surprise party, complete with the obligatory cake. (In case you’re wondering, the cake was yummy. But any rumors suggesting that I went back for a second, third, and fourth piece are total fabrications. Honestly, the stories people cook up.)

Mind you, Dan wasn’t the only one to garner praise. Sheridan Ethier, the manager of the QNX CAR development team, was also honored — not by the queen, but by the Ottawa Business Journal for his technical achievements, business leadership, and community involvement.

Chevy MyLink drives home with first prize — twice
There's nothing better than going home with first prize. Except, perhaps, doing it twice. In January, the QNX-based Chevy MyLink system earned a Best of CES 2013 Award, in the car tech category. And in May, it pulled another coup: first place in the "Automotive, LBS, Navigation & Safe Driving" category of the 2013 CTIA Emerging Technology (E-Tech) Awards.

Panasonic, Garmin, and Foryou get with the platform
Garmin K2 platform: because
one great platform deserves
August was crazy busy — and crazy good. Within the space of two weeks, three big names in the global auto industry revealed that they’re using the QNX CAR Platform for their next-gen systems. Up first was Panasonic, who will use the platform to build systems for automakers in North America, Europe, and Japan. Next was Foryou, who will create infotainment systems for automakers in China. And last was Garmin, who are using the platform in the new Garmin K2, the company’s infotainment solution for automotive OEMs.

And if all that wasn’t cool enough…

Mercedes-Benz showcases the platform
Did I mention I want one?
When Mercedes-Benz decides to wow the crowds at the Frankfurt Motor Show, it doesn’t settle for second best. Which is why, in my not so humble opinion, they chose the QNX CAR Platform for the oh-so-desirable Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coup√©.

Mind you, this isn’t the first time QNX and Mercedes-Benz have joined forces. In fact, the QNX auto team and Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America have collaborated since the early 2000s. Moreover, QNX has supplied the OS for a variety of Mercedes infotainment systems. The infotainment system and digital cluster in the Concept S-Class Coup√© are the latest — and arguably coolest — products of this long collaboration.

We create noise to eliminate noise
Taking a sound approach to
creating a quieter ride.
Confused yet? Don’t be. You see, it’s quite simple. Automakers today are using techniques like variable cylinder management, which cut fuel consumption (good), but also increase engine noise (bad). Until now, car companies have been using active noise control systems, which play “anti-noise” to cancel out the unwanted engine sounds. All fine and good, but these systems require dedicated hardware — and that makes them expensive. So we devised a software product, QNX Acoustics for Active Noise Control, that not only out-performs conventional solutions, but can run on the car’s existing audio or infotainment hardware. Goodbye dedicated hardware, hello cost savings.

And we flub our lines on occasion
Our HTML5 video series has given companies like Audi, OnStar, Gartner, TCS, and Pandora a public forum to discuss why HTML5 and other open standards are key to the future of the connected car. The videos are filled with erudite conversation, but every now and then, it becomes obvious that sounding smart in front of a camera is a little harder than it looks. So what did we do with the embarrassing bits? Create a blooper reel, of course.

Are these bloopers our greatest moments? Nope. Are they among the funniest? Oh yeah. :-)

Jumat, 25 Oktober 2013

Kamis, 24 Oktober 2013

V12 Screamer!


 acrylic on paper 7x12"
this painting is available at ijbemaa@gmail.com

V12 Screamer
Matra MS 10
J.P.Beltoise 1968

Rabu, 23 Oktober 2013

Barry Sheene


 acrylic on paper 8x12"
this painting is available at ijbemaa@gmail.com

Barry Sheene

Top 10 challenges facing the ADAS industry

Tina Jeffrey
It didn’t take long. Just months after the release of the ISO 26262 automotive functional safety standard in 2011, the auto industry began to grasp its importance and adopt it in a big way. Safety certification is gaining traction in the industry as automakers introduce advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), digital instrument clusters, heads-up displays, and other new technologies in their vehicles.

Governments around the world, in particular those of the United States and the European Union, are calling for the standardization of ADAS features. Meanwhile, consumers are demonstrating a readiness to adopt these systems to make their driving experience safer. In fact, vehicle safety rating systems are becoming a vital ‘go to’ information resource for new car buyers. Take, for example, the European New Car Assessment Programme Advanced (Euro NCAP Advanced). This organization publishes safety ratings on cars that employ technologies with scientifically proven safety benefits for drivers. The emergence of these ratings encourages automakers to exceed minimum statutory requirements for new cars.

Sizing the ADAS market
ABI Research claims that the global ADAS market, estimated at US$16.6 billion at the end of 2012, will grow to more than US$260 billion by the end of 2020, representing a CAGR of 41%. Which means that cars will ship with more of the following types of safety-certified systems:

The 10 challenges
So what are the challenges that ADAS suppliers face when bringing systems to market? Here, in my opinion, are the top 10:
  1. Safety must be embedded in the culture of every organization in the supply chain. ADAS suppliers can't treat safety as an afterthought that is tacked on at the end of development; rather, they must embed it into their development practices, processes, and corporate culture. To comply with ISO 26262, an ADAS supplier must establish procedures associated with safety standards, such as design guidelines, coding standards and reviews, and impact analysis procedures. It must also implement processes to assure accountability and traceability for decisions. These processes provide appropriate checks and balances and allow for safety and quality issues to be addressed as early as possible in the development cycle.
  2. ADAS systems are a collaborative effort. Most ADAS systems must integrate intellectual properties from a number of technology partners; they are too complex to be developed in isolation by a single supplier. Also, in a safety-certified ADAS system, every component must be certified — from the underlying hardware (be it a multi-core processor, GPU, FPGA, or DSP) to the OS, middleware, algorithms, and application code. As for the application code, it must be certified to the appropriate automotive safety integrity level; the level for the ADAS applications listed above is typically ASIL D, the highest level of ISO 26262 certification.
  3. Systems may need to comply with multiple industry guidelines or specifications. Besides ISO 26262, ADAS systems may need to comply with additional criteria, as dictated by the tier one supplier or automaker. On the software side, these criteria may include AUTOSAR or MISRA. On the hardware side, they will include AEC-Q100 qualification, which involves reliability testing of auto-grade ICs at various temperature grades. ICs must function reliably over temperature ranges that span -40 degrees C to 150 degrees C, depending on the system.
  4. ADAS development costs are high. These systems are expensive to build. To achieve economies of scale, they must be targeted at mid- and low-end vehicle segments. Prices will then decline as volume grows and development costs are amortized, enabling more widespread adoption.
  5. The industry lacks interoperability specifications for radar, laser, and video data in the car network. For audio-video data alone, automakers use multiple data communication standards, including MOST (media-oriented system transport), Ethernet AVB, and LVDS. As such, systems must support a multitude of interfaces to ensure adoption across a broad spectrum of possible interfaces. Also, systems may need additional interfaces to support radar or lidar data.
  6. The industry lacks standards for embedded vision-processing algorithms. Ask 5 different developers to develop a lane departure warning system and you’ll get 5 different solutions. Each solution will likely start with a Matlab implementation that is ported to run on the selected hardware. If the developer is fortunate, the silicon will support image processing primitives (a library of functions designed for use with the hardware) to accelerate development. TI, for instance, has a set of image and video processing libraries (IMGLIB and VLIB) optimized for their silicon. These libraries serve as building blocks for embedded vision processing applications. For instance, IMGLIB has edge detection functions that could be used in a lane departure warning application.
  7. Data acquisition and data processing for vision-based systems is high-bandwidth and computationally intensive. Vision-based ADAS systems present their own set of technical challenges. Different systems require different image sensors operating at different resolutions, frame rates, and lighting conditions. A system that performs high-speed forward-facing driver assistance functions such as road sign detection, lane departure warning, and autonomous emergency breaking must support a higher frame rate and resolution than a rear-view camera that performs obstacle detection. (A rear-view camera typically operates at low speeds, and obstacles in the field of view are in close proximity to the vehicle.) Compared to the rear-view camera, an LDW, AEB, or RSD system must acquire and process more incoming data at a faster incoming frame rate, before signaling the driver of an unintentional lane drift or warning the driver that the vehicle is exceeding the posted speed limit.
  8. ADAS cannot add to driver distraction. There is an increase in the complexity of in-vehicle tasks and displays that can result in driver information overload. Systems are becoming more integrated and are presenting more data to the driver. Information overload could result in high cognitive workload, reducing situational awareness and countering the efficacy of ADAS. Systems must therefore be easy to use and should make use of the most appropriate modalities (visual, manual, tactile, sound, haptic, etc.) and be designed to encourage driver adoption. Development teams must establish a clear specification of the driver-vehicle interface early on in development to ensure user and system requirements are aligned.
  9. Environmental factors affect ADAS. ADAS systems must function under a variety of weather and lighting conditions. Ideally, vision-based systems should be smart enough to understand when they are operating in poor visibility scenarios such as heavy fog or snow, or when direct sunlight shines into the lens. If the system detects that the lens is occluded or that the lighting conditions are unfavorable, it can disable itself and warn the driver that it is non-operational. Another example is an ultrasonic parking sensor that becomes prone to false positives when encrusted with mud. Combining the results of different sensors or different sensor technologies (sensor fusion) can often provide a more effective solution than using a single technology in isolation.
  10. Testing and validating is an enormous undertaking. Arguably, testing and validation is the most challenging aspect of ADAS development, especially when it comes to vision systems. Prior to deploying a commercial vision system, an ADAS development team must amass hundreds if not thousands of hours of video clips in a regression test database, in an effort to test all scenarios. The ultimate goal is to achieve 100% accuracy and zero false positives under all possible conditions: traffic, weather, number of obstacles or pedestrians in the scene, etc. But how can the team be sure that the test database comprises all test cases? The reality is that they cannot — which is why suppliers spend years testing and validating systems, and performing extensive real-world field-trials in various geographies, prior to commercial deployment.
There are many hurdles to bringing ADAS to mainstream vehicles, but clearly, they are surmountable. ADAS systems are commercially available today, consumer demand is high, and the path towards widespread adoption is paved. If consumer acceptance of ADAS provides any indication of societal acceptance of autonomous drive, we’re well on our way.

Jumat, 18 Oktober 2013