Smart Automotive Apps: An Approach to Context-Driven Applications
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Objective Driven trough the new paradigm of application development for mobile devices, customers expect to have a device that can be updated with the latest and greatest features. Many useful applications have emerged from the existing ecosystem of SDKs, App Stores, etc. These applications are accessible anywhere, anytime, based on proper data connection. In the context of cars, one should be able to use apps without touching the mobile device. Cars offer a comprehensive infrastructure of control elements and screens optimized for usage whilst driving. Cars also offer a large amount of context knowledge from its sensor system. Leveraging the additional computing power and data connection of mobile devices in combination with the car enables a complete new level of features. Methodology An abstract interface between the car and the mobile device is implemented. The application itself is running on the mobile device and dynamically creates new features in the car. It is seamlessly integrated into the in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system, which displays its features on the car screen. The application is controlled by the car interaction elements. By using this abstract interface the application on the mobile device has access to the sensor system and the audio system of the car. To avoid driver distraction guidelines and review procedures have been established. This is why applications can only connect to vehicles with proper authentication credentials. Results The IVI interface solves the objectives by offering (1) a “Remote HMI” interface that allows external applications to create their own HMI represented on the car display. User interaction is transferred to an external application through a notification service. (2) a “Car Data Server” interface sending vehicle sensor data to the mobile device. (3) an “Audio Service” playing audio in the car. Based on these technologies, new features such as MINIMALISM Analyser (a trainer for efficient driving) or Driving Excitement (a dynamic display of driving data, e.g. lateral/longitudinal acceleration, torque) are being developed. Furthermore, integrated versions of existing applications, e.g. music services like Pandora and MOG have been released. The IVI extension was introduced as an option for BMW Group vehicles in August 2010 (MINI)/March 2011 (BMW). At present, this option is compatible with the Apple iOS platform.
KeywordsApps Car sensor interface Feature upgrade Mobile device integration Human machine interface
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