Consumers today expect to be connected at all times, including while they are driving a car. Carmakers responded with Bluetooth integration of cell phones to allow for call features in the early 2000s, but they did not anticipate the app revolution that occurred after the arrival of the iPhone in 2007.
So today, drivers have the choice of playing their music or navigating (or any number of other apps) either through their phones or through in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) offerings, or both. But the delivery cycles for smartphones, apps, and car systems vary widely, introducing a real challenge for carmakers.
Several strategies can be imagined for the automotive industry to resolve this difficulty. One would be to reduce car software development cycles and to update vehicles over-the-air (OTA) to bring in-car functionality more in line with consumer electronics delivery schedules. The way chosen in the short term by many is to integrate smartphones into in-vehicle systems so that smartphone apps use car peripherals (touchscreen, loudspeakers, microphones, steering wheel switches, etc.). This integration results in consumers safely using their apps while driving.
As a first solution, some carmakers tried specific integrations (one smartphone to one car system). But since then, several technologies have been developed to better standardize smartphone integration, including:
· MirrorLink, a standard proposed by Car Connectivity Consortium
· SmartDeviceLink, an open-source project initiated by Ford and hosted by the GENIVI
· CarPlay, an integration specifically for iPhones and introduced by Apple in 2013
· Android Auto, an integration specifically for Android devices introduced by Google in 2014
Carmakers do not want to leave any of their customers unhappy, and therefore tend to support a full set of solutions in their in-vehicle portfolio. Developing this set of integration solutions and maintaining them for the long haul is painful, costly, and always risky for customer satisfaction. Whose fault is it when the app doesn’t work? Automakers will avoid this pain if they can benefit from a set of standardized interfaces that simplify integration with their in-vehicle software platform.
The smartphone industry is highly competitive, and fragmentation may continue to increase in the future as the battle among multiple mobile operating systems continues to rage. An active community is needed to continuously develop and maintain smart device integration into the car. GENIVI is one of those communities where carmakers and their suppliers can discuss realistic, efficient, and simple methods of integrating a growing set of consumer devices and operating environments.
Through its standard interfaces and open-source components, GENIVI provides a framework that gives carmakers and their suppliers better options for integration of consumer devices. By working together, members and the open-source community are prepared to deliver the necessary technology to fulfill consumers high and rapidly changing expectations for being connected at all times.