At IESF – great new venue this year, by the way – Paul Hansen (www.hansenreport.com) talked about tightening competition in automotive electronics, especially for infotainment; slimmer margins on new car sales, and a rush to offer connectivity to the cloud.
He also outlined other problems for infotainment suppliers: Carmakers are taking systems integration in house, they are separating hardware sourcing from software sourcing, and they are cautiously embracing an open source business model, i.e. The GENIVI Alliance.
Hansen said plans by BMW, PSA Peugeot Citroën and Jaguar Land Rover to put GENIVI into production pose another challenge for infotainment suppliers. He mentioned that Mentor Graphics is a GENIVI board member that has been providing Linux embedded software and tools since 2009.
“The penetration of embedded infotainment systems will continue to grow for several more years, but inevitably it must plateau,” Hansen said, “So infotainment suppliers are exploring business opportunities in adjacent domains,” such as instrument clusters and head-up displays, and active safety.
Hansen said Euro NCAP estimates that automatic emergency braking systems can reduce accidents by up to 27%. “If that estimate proves to be accurate, other countries will find ways to mandate or encourage carmakers to install emergency braking systems on new vehicles.”
Despite advances in automotive electronics technology, distracted driving remains a major problem. “I used to think speech recognition was the answer,” Hansen said, “but after studying research published this June by the American Automobile Association, I am no longer sure.”
The AAA study found that that interacting with a speech-to-text system is more than three times more cognitively distracting than the single task of driving. Just talking on a hands-free cellphone was 2.27 times more distracting that the single driving task. “The industry needs to look closely at this study and respond thoughtfully, or more lives could be wasted on the highways,” Hansen said.
“It’s widely accepted that autonomous systems will evolve to take over more and more of the driving,” Hansen concluded, “but the industry still has many questions to answer before self-driving cars will hit the road.
“I’ll be writing about autonomous driving, about driver distraction, about active safety, about the competitive environment and many other important topics in future Hansen Reports.”