Kamis, 29 November 2012

Meet the QNX concept team: Jonathan Hacker, software developer

Jonathan Hacker
Last week, we treated you to an interview with Mark Rigley, the concept development team’s director. This week, we meet up with someone who has worked on several of the team’s projects, including the Porsche 911 and Jeep Wrangler. His name is Jonathan Hacker — a wonderful aptronym, if ever there was one.

So tell us, Jon, what do you do on the concept team?
I’m a software developer. I spend much of my time listening to people so I can understand what, exactly, we want to accomplish in a concept system. I then figure out how we can use software to achieve our goal. I also spend quite a bit of my time coding.

What do you like best about being on the concept team?
I like taking a big problem, coming up with a crazy solution that no one had thought of, and turning it into something real.

Has there been a standout moment for you while working on the team?
Yes, when we were trying to get the digital speedometer to work on the Porsche 911. We drove dozens of laps around QNX headquarters while I sat in the passenger seat with my laptop, taking readings off the Porsche’s CAN bus. It was a blast — especially since we got the speedometer to work!

What is your biggest challenge right now? What keeps you up at night?

Working on concept projects is a juggling act. There are always many little pieces of software and hardware drivers being developed at the same time, and everything has to come together seamlessly. I’ve always been more of a programmer than a project manager, so making sure everything stays on track keeps me on my toes.

Who would you like to see seated in a QNX technology concept car or reference vehicle?
This couldn’t happen in real life because he’s a fictional character, but in almost every mockup produced by our designers, Gordon Freeman is phoning the car — you know, the protagonist in the Half-Life video game series. So it would be awesome to see Gordon Freeman sitting in the car. But unless it’s someone in a costume, that’s not going to happen!

What is your dream car?
The Porsche ruined most other cars for me; it really is that amazing. But If I had to pick one, it would be the Audi R8. It’s a fantastic looking car.

Are you excited about the new concept car that we plan to unveil at CES?

Of course — it’s going to rock! We are building some really awesome stuff into this car. People will be impressed.

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