Among other things, the unit demonstrates how car infotainment systems can access a host of applications on smart phones and other mobile devices, such as maps for finding restaurants and geosocial apps for locating friends. In fact, the head unit supports two modes of mobile-device interaction:
These descriptions only scratch the surface of how these technologies work. For instance, the specification for Terminal Mode, which is still in development, includes provisions to reduce driver distraction, such as mechanisms that lock out unsafe apps while the car is in motion. (QNX has produced a couple of videos on these two technologies; I will provide links later this week.)
The head unit isn’t a one-trick pony. It also offers:
- a reskinnable user interface (HMI) based on Adobe Flash
- Pandora streaming audio, Webkit browsing, and Google Maps with local search
- iAnywhere Bluetooth and hands-free calling
- A virtual mechanic that gets OBD-II trouble codes from the vehicle CAN bus and displays them in an interactive graphic
Like the digital instrument cluster, the head unit for the concept Corvette was built with the QNX CAR application platform, which you can learn more about here.