Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Is this the most jazzed-up Jeep ever to hit CES?

The fourth installment in the CES Cars of Fame series. Our inductee for this week: a Jeep that gets personal.

Paul Leroux
It might not be as hip as the Prius or as fast as the Porsche. But it's fun, practical, and flexible. Better yet, you can drive it just about anywhere. Which makes it the perfect vehicle to demonstrate the latest features of the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment.

It's called the QNX reference vehicle, and it's been to CES in Las Vegas, as well as to Detroit, New York City, and lots of places in between. It's our go-to vehicle for whenever we want to hit the road and showcase our latest infotainment technology. It even made a guest appearance at IBM's recent Information On Demand 2013 Big Data conference, where it demonstrated the power of connecting cars to the cloud.

The reference vehicle, which is based on a Jeep Wrangler, serves a different purpose than our technology concept cars. Those vehicles take the QNX CAR Platform as a starting point to demonstrate how the platform can help automakers hit new levels of innovation. The reference vehicle plays a more modest, but equally important, role: to show what our the platform can do out of the box.

For instance, we updated the Jeep recently to show how version 2.1 of the QNX CAR Platform will allow developers to blend a variety of application and HMI technologies on the same display. In this case, the Jeep's head unit is running a mix of native, HTML5, and Android apps on an HMI built with the Qt application framework:

Getting personal
We also use the Jeep to demonstrate the platform's support for customization and personalization. For instance, here is the first demonstration instrument cluster we created specifically for the Jeep:

And here's a more recent version:

These clusters may look very different, but they share the same underlying features, such as the ability to display turn-by-turn directions, weather updates, and other information provided by the head unit.

Keeping with the theme of personalization, the Jeep also demonstrates how the QNX CAR Platform allows developers to create re-skinnable HMIs. Here, for example, is a radio app in one skin:

And here's the same app in a different skin:

This re-skinnability isn't just cool; it also demonstrates how the QNX CAR Platform can help automotive developers create a single underlying code base and re-use it across multiple vehicle lines. Good, that.

Getting complementary
The Jeep is also the perfect vehicle to showcase the ecosystem of complementary apps and services integrated with the QNX CAR Platform, such as the (very cool) street director navigation system from Elektrobit:

To return to the question, is this really the most jazzed-up Jeep to hit CES? Well, it will be making a return trip to CES in just a few weeks, with a whole new software build. So if you're in town, drop by and let us know what you think.

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