Proprietary in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems have overstayed their welcome. What’s needed instead are IVI systems that are open.
That’s the case being made collectively by Intel, Google and Volvo Cars. At this week’s Google I/O developer conference, the three presented a demo of a Volvo XC40 sedan operating a next-generation IVI system.
Volvo’s next-gen Sensus IVI system gets open help from Google and Intel
The Volvo system, called Sensus, runs Google apps on the Android P operating system, and it’s powered by an Intel Atom System-on-Chip (SoC).
IVI isn’t much of a market for tech providers, at least not yet. Right now, the key players are the big makers of autos, chips and OS software.
But opportunities for smaller companies could, and should, open up soon. IVI appears to be one fast-growing market, with a forecast compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13%, according to Allied Market Research. At that rate, Allied adds, global IVI sales will approach a massive $34 billion in the next four years.
Keeping it simple
Intel, Google and Volvo are making their case for an open IVI platform based on the need to keep things simple. Proprietary solutions can be quick, but they can also lead to an auto cockpit that’s overly complicated. Not good for driving! So automakers and their suppliers have been looking for ways to simplify things.
Intel argues that the Android environment — extended by Google for the IVI market in 2015 — is the solution. Android delivers an OS and apps that Intel argues are the easiest to customize, update and scale.
Because developers are already familiar with Android, they can create IVI apps for Volvo without having to learn a new development platform. Similarly, adapting and optimizing their older Android apps for IVI usage should be relatively quick and easy, opening the way to new sales.
Further, Intel aims to help IVI automakers and suppliers with its GO Development Platform. GO is designed to help developers create IVI systems and apps by supplying them with an Atom SoC, prequalified modules, reference board and developer kit.
Talk to me
Volvo’s Sensus IVI system won’t appear in the company’s cars until at least its 2020 models. These cars should be introduced at the tail end of next year.
But the demo looks pretty cool. It offers advanced features that include voice recognition via Google Assistant, access to Android apps via Google Store, and the ability to use Google Maps natively.
Voice recognition could be the real game-changer. Volvo says drivers will be able to control many car functions with speech, including adjusting the heat and air conditioning, playing music and sending messages. Controlling these and other functions with speech will also help drivers keep their eyes on the road — which should contribute to safer driving.
Meanwhile, keep your eyes on this IVI market. It could soon help your business pick up speed.