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Working together for the common good

John Day

John Day

Posted Mar 25, 2010

It’s nice to see that some groups can work together for the common good. I’m thinking of the companies participating in the GENIVI Alliance. BMW, Delphi, General Motors, Intel, Magneti Marelli, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Visteon, and Wind River formed the Alliance a year ago to create an open source in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) reference platform. The initial version of the platform was released just nine months later, and application development is already underway.

ARM joined the Alliance last week, and I took the opportunity to chat with Will Tu, ARM’s marketing manager for embedded solutions, and Graham Smethurst, president of the GENIVI Alliance and general manager of BMW’s infotainment and communications systems.

Smethurst says the short development time for the first GENIVI platform version is evidence that GENIVI’s approach “will deliver on its promise of shortening product development cycles and reducing costs while maintaining high quality and supporting product differentiation.” He adds, “Our industry needs GENIVI now more than ever.”

That’s because IVI development is such a challenge. “It already accounts for the vast majority of by lines of code,” says Smethurst, “and it’s being driven upward at a rate that’s unsustainable.” Developing applications from scratch is impractical if not impossible.

ARM’s Tu notes that IVI content and architectures differ from one automaker to another, and one result is that no IVI market is large enough to attract the attention of innovative software developers – the way Apple’s iPhone platform has. Someday, perhaps, the GENIVI Alliance might change that.

TU says ARM’s Elected Charter seat on the Alliance board “puts us in a better position to have influence, and to look out for the interests of our partners.” ARM is also supporting two other platform contenders, Microsoft and QNX.

Smethurst notes that GENIVI began at the lower end of the architecture and is working its way up to the point where differentiation is desirable. “There is a lot of non-differentiating content where it’s easy to reach consensus and drive a level of standardization,” he says. “These are easier, but still necessary steps. Right now it’s important to build trust and understanding.”

Magneti Marelli, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Delphi, ARM, Visteon, Graham Smethurst, Will Tu, General Motors, Wind River, Genivi Alliance

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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