Thursday, September 5, 2013

QNX automotive summit in Shanghai: the recap

Guest post from Alan Zhang, technical solutions manager, QNX Software Systems

Alan Zhang
On August 27 the QNX Automotive Summit returned to China, bringing together global automotive leaders in beautiful downtown Shanghai. Despite the morning traffic, by 9:30 a.m. more than 130 delegates from the automotive industry had filled up the Grand Ball Room at Ritz-Carlton, Pudong. The number of delegates exceeded our expectations — our event manager Alison had to ask the hotel for extra chairs!

The theme of the summit was “explore new opportunities in automotive and mobile convergence”. The convergence of the car and the smartphone is becoming a universal topic, but China is a particularly interesting place to discuss this subject: not only is the prevalence of the car relatively new, but the country is already the world’s largest automotive market. Competition is fierce — the leaders gathered at the summit shared their expert insights for winning new and unique automotive opportunities in China.

Mission-critical pedigree: Derek Kuhn
delivers his opening remarks.
The word from Audi, AutoNavi, Foryou, Harman
Derek Kuhn, QNX vice president of sales and marketing, got things rolling with a talk on how our mission-critical pedigree and mobile experience help automotive companies address the challenges of the connected car. Following Derek were Xiaodan Tang of Audi China and Tong Zao of Harman International who shared their views on automotive trends from the OEM and tier one perspectives.

The day before the summit, we hosted a press conference announcing our collaborations with the Chinese companies AutoNavi and Foryou. The press event attracted 37 journalists, all curious to hear about our strategy for China and who in China we are working with (see our recent posts on AutoNavi and Foryou). On the summit day we were honored to have guest speakers from these companies — Yongqi Yang, executive VP of AutoNavi, and Zou Hong, director of product management, Foryou.

Autonomous drive
In China, collaboration with the government and academia is a key topic in the automotive industry. Jin Xu, our global education program manager, and Professor T. John Koo from Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technologies, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SIAT CAS), shared a session titled “Shaping Future Cars in China: Research and Education.” Professor Koo leads research using QNX software at SIAT CAS and has been involved in autonomous drive research since 2003, long before the word ADAS existed. Jin introduced QNX Software Systems’ academic initiatives in China and how we are enabling future automotive engineers.

Global reach, local services
Deploying services and features that are regionally relevant is a key challenge for global automotive companies. Weiyu Liang, our director of engineering services for APAC, spoke on QNX engineering services and how we support local customers. Localization is hugely important for anybody targeting the China market. Our last guest speaker, Suo fei Li of Baidu, provider of the biggest Chinese language search engine, spoke on how Baidu can work with automotive companies as a trusted partner rather than as just a supplier. A Baidu application running on the QNX CAR Platform was also shown at the event along with the latest features included in version 2.1.

Our hardware partners Altera, Elektrobit, Freescale, NVIDIA, Renesas, TI, Xilinx were also on hand, showcasing their latest automotive demos.

A unique combination
Andrew Poliak, our automotive business development director, delivered the closing presentation. Tying together various discussions that happened throughout the day, Andrew’s speech focused on QNX advantages such as platform flexibility, HMI options, advanced acoustic technology, and our unique ability to combine all of the above with functional safety. This all tied into our event theme — enabling automotive customers and giving them competitive edge to seize the new and unique opportunities in China.

Summit at a glance — a pictorial overview from QNX marketing manager Noko Kataoko

So many people were in the room, the camera couldn't fit them all in. Next year, we'll have to invest in a wider lens: ;-)

Taking QNX for a drive. The exhibit hall featured several QNX automotive partners, including Altera, Elektrobit, Freescale, NVIDIA, Renesas, TI, and Xilinx:

The summit included talks from Audi, AutoNavi, Foryou, Harman, QNX, and the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technologies. Speakers included our own Andrew Poliak, who looks like he's discussing the virtues of the QNX logo, but is in fact pointing to his presentation on stage right:

Did I mention there was a draw for a shiny new Nikon camera? Did I mention I didn't win? Did I mention it's because, as a QNX employee, I wasn't allowed to participate? Now don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter, or anything...

Mmm... don't they look good? Besides getting a taste of what's in store for the connected car, attendees got to enjoy some other tastes as well:

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