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Working with Qualcomm to Showcase 3rd-Generation Automotive Cockpit Graphics Platform

With Kanzi for Android, Qualcomm Technologies demonstrates advanced user experiences.

Inside a softly lit glass cube in the north hall at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January, automaker executives and consumers were impressed with the rich 3D graphics, interactive maps, and connected content brought to life inside a mock-vehicle’s cockpit. Superlative-laden discussions surrounded the vehicle, designed and produced by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.*, to showcase its 3rd-Generation Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Automotive Cockpit Platforms.

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As the automotive industry’s first-announced scalable artificial intelligence (AI)-based platform, the 3rd-Generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms are designed to transform in-vehicle experiences with an array of content, supporting higher levels of computing and intelligence needed for advanced capabilities featured in next-generation vehicles. These platforms, designed to “unleash transformative experiences for the driver and passengers,” displayed interactive information on the dashboard’s digital displays, the windshield head-up display (HUD), and rear-seat entertainment screens.

“Today, consumers want interaction much like they have on their phones or tablets,” said Jeff Dumrauf, Director of Engineering, Qualcomm Technologies Inc. “In the future, with autonomous vehicles, smart transportation, and smart infrastructure sending information directly into the car, we’re going to need to display all of it in a very unique and intuitive way.”

Dumrauf said it is no easy task designing a system capable of placing a multitude of information, pulled from inside and outside the vehicle, in a way the driver and passengers can personalize on various screens throughout the cockpit. To aid in making the production process of engineering the concept shell faster and easier, Qualcomm Technologies worked with Rightware and its Kanzi software products.

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This project represents a great example of what is possible with modern HMI tools and methodologies in a next-gen connected vehicle. The dashboard featured an ultra-wide screen made up of two high-aspect-ratio 5760x900 displays, each driven by its own underlying Android Pie embedded operating system.

Multiple tools from the Rightware’s Kanzi product family made the user experience possible. The advanced 2D and 3D graphics are designed and rendered with Kanzi UI. Kanzi Maps allows map data from a variety of backends, currently including Mapbox and HERE Technologies, to be treated as a native element of the overall user interface, simplifying the integration of navigation and location services across the cockpit. Finally, Kanzi Connect serves two functions in this platform: streamlining the integration of online services including Alexa, music, and videos from Amazon and map data from Mapbox; and sharing of data from apps and services across all the in-vehicle displays.

The combination of Kanzi UI and Kanzi Connect adds unique value to Android. Kanzi UI allows automakers to implement a consistent visual identity across displays regardless of the underlying operating system, while Kanzi Connect allows data from or services to be easily rendered on any screen across the cockpit. Thus, automakers can take advantage of the vast Android ecosystem while delivering a truly seamless user experience and a highly customized UI on stock Android Automotive.

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“We chose to work with Rightware on the development of our digital cockpit demonstration, as Kanzi allows us to show the full capabilities of the Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms,” said Bill Pinnell, Senior Director Automotive Software, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Kanzi Maps allows us to demonstrate mapping and navigation use cases across the cockpit, bringing in map data from industry-leading providers.”

At a time when technology is rapidly evolving, automakers are seeking ways to incorporate content-rich graphics into vehicles while maintaining their brand identity.

“The tools that we use within Kanzi allow us to create very custom user experiences that can be refined directly to an OEM’s standard,” Dumrauf said. If an automaker wants to focus on a “very specific user experience, Kanzi allows that user experience and the development process to happen easily.”

Dumrauf noted that Kanzi streamlines the platform development process, which in the past included designing each facet in separate development channels to support multiple operating systems. Cross-platform by design, Kanzi supports all leading automotive operating systems including QNX, INTEGRITY, Android, Linux, etc.

“Kanzi ties all these pieces together from generation to logic to the UI,” said Dumrauf. “Kanzi allows us to take the same UI and (deploy) that on Linux, Android, QNX, and other distributions.”

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According to Dumrauf, working with Rightware allowed Qualcomm Technologies engineers to focus on what they know best – their hardware, their software, and the logic that binds all Qualcomm Technologies parts together.

“(Rightware) engineers allowed us to take data and create this really cool user experience to show how we can start interacting with our driver and passenger displays,” Dumrauf said. “The level of integration and services that we were able to develop with the Kanzi UI allowed us to develop this demonstration very quickly to a demo state to show customers and consumers at CES.”

The result was content-rich graphics and services, such as Alexa Auto, Amazon Music and Video, and Mapbox, which drew the attention of customers and consumers at CES.

“We’ve always looked at Rightware and Kanzi as an industry leader in automotive interfaces and user experience,” said Dumrauf. “In this case, we were able to leverage the Rightware team to help us with the process to get our CES demo up in a very short time.”

*Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM)

Android™ is a trademark of Google Inc.