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This car runs on ice cream

Recent research into alternatives to traditional fossil fuels has identified that hydrocarbon chemicals found in ice cream,  or household items such as shampoo or soap could be manipulated to replace substances contained in fossil fuels.  The work has been done as a combine project between the Universities of Manchester (UK) and Turku (Finland).  According to EDF Energy,   supplies of oil in the world are set to last only 21 more years. Those of us who were around in the 1970’s take this with some skepticism, as  we were told back then there would be no oil left in 2000,  and here we are in 2013 with more cars than ever and our love-affair with freedom of movement undiminished.  However, there is no question that over the next few years the proportion of vehicles running on traditional fossil fuels will continue to fall.  It’s a poor link,  but I am more interested in the Ice Cream Sandwich – Google’s v4.0 Android operating system.  Android Version 4.0 has many features aimed at consolidating the operating system requirements for both Smart Phones and Tablets – these were in danger of diverging.  Some of the features include a new type-face for high-resolution screens, improved support for multi-tasking and active process display, and re-sizable widgets to make home screens more customizable.  In the automotive industry,  the Android operating system is already in production with some automotive Infotainment systems,  such as the Renault R-Link announced at the end of 2012.  It is not clear how many others will follow suit, but there is a lot of interest.  With the alternative GENIVI Linux operating system,  now at version 3.0,  manufacturers and designers have decisions to make regarding which base operating system platform to use.  Arguments for Android include user-interface familiarity from the smart phone experience, ability to run Android Apps (there are now over 700,000)  subject to suitable security precautions,  and a flexible open programming environment already well accepted by developers.  On the minus side,  is the challenge of keeping up with Android releases (Android 4.1 – named Jelly Bean was released in July 2012 and supersedes Ice Cream Sandwich)  and also the fact that the road map of Android is managed by Google,  and Infotainment solution providers may be dependent on this for new feature development.  As an alternative for Infotainment operating systems,  the GENIVI alliance now has over 170 corporate members,  who are continuing to pool their best efforts in developing an open source standards-based platform.  Version 3.0 of the GENIVI specification includes improvements to system startup and the Bluetooth stack, as well as package updates for over 35 libraries and services that assemble to form the operating system and middleware.  At Mentor Embedded, we are heavily involved in helping OEMs and Tier 1 automotive companies take advantage of this open source foundation platform.   As the amount of software in vehicles continues to grow,  I am sure we will all soon be driving cars that have many functions based on Linux and Android host operating systems,  if we are not already.  Ice creams also?  Well at least to keep us cool on those hot summer days we hope are round the corner.

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About Andrew Patterson

Andrew PattersonAndrew Patterson is Business Development Director for Mentor Graphic’s embedded division, specializing in the Automotive market. Prior to Mentor Andrew has spent over 20 years in the Design Automation market specializing in a wide range of technologies including wire harness design, automotive simulation model development, virtual prototyping, and mechatronics. Currently he is focused on working with the GENIVI industry alliance, and leading Mentor’s Infotainment and in-vehicle Electronic Cluster and Telematic solutions. Andrew holds a masters degree in Engineering and Electrical Sciences from Cambridge University, UK. Visit Embedded Blog

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