Intel recently announced a $100 million Intel Capital Connected Car Investment Fund, an Automotive Innovation and Product Development Center, and the expansion of Intel Labs Interaction and Experience Research (IXR) in automotive, an academic outreach program. All three announcements have to do with in-vehicle infotainment, which has been Intel’s automotive electronics focus for the past five years or so.
Intel is promoting the Atom processor for IVI applications to good effect. Chinese automaker HawTai has an Atom-based IVI system in production. China-based infotainment systems supplier TSP and automaker GAIG are working on a system that should be ready later this year for GAIG’s Trumpchi model.
Intel signed a memorandum of understanding for IVI platform development with DENSO. It has a strategic cooperation agreement for IVI with China-based infotainment systems developer Huizhou ForYou General Electronics, and last fall it announced a collaborative effort with Hyundai, Kia, and C&S Technology and an IVI partnership with Toyota.
Intel’s variety of development pair-ups provide perspective on where technology is headed. “We’re studying what works and what doesn’t,” says Natalie Nielsen, director of marketing for Intel’s Automotive Solutions Division. “There are more screens in cars, including those that drivers and passengers bring in with their smart phones, tablets, and other devices, and screens that automakers place in their vehicles for information and entertainment. The industry is progressing from simply displaying what’s on a phone’s screen to context-aware applications, such as suggesting a detour when there is traffic congestion ahead as opposed to the driver having to ask for a detour.” Neilsen adds that Atom processors have the performance needed to address evolving IVI system requirements.
Intel’s Capital Connected Car Fund will invest in hardware, software and services companies developing technologies for compelling new IVI and connected car applications. According to Strategy Analytics, silicon solutions for infotainment and telematics market are expected to rise from $5.6 billion in 2010 to $8.7 billion in 2018.
Intel’s Automotive Innovation and Product Development Center in Karlsruhe, Germany will serve as the company’s global center of competence for the development of products and technologies for in-vehicle infotainment and telematics solutions for the connected car.
“The car is the ultimate mobile device,” notes Staci Palmer, general manager of Intel’s Automotive Solutions Division. “By 2014, according to Gartner, automobiles will be among the top three fastest-growing areas for connected devices and Internet content.