At the SAE Convergence held October 19-20
at Cobo Hall, Detroit, we saw the early signs
of recovery in our industry. Auto electronics
leaders have attended this conference every
two years for the last 30 years. This confer-
ence is the opportunity to understand and dis-
cuss strategy and to see the new technologies
associated with automotive electronics on a
broad front, from safety, powertrain (now EV/
hybrids) to infotainment. Convergence is the
“premier transportation electronics event at-
tracting leading executives, engineers and
technologists from around the globe”. It was
fitting that Ford and Microsoft organized the
event as Ford just announced additional signs
of resurgence, retiring debt and announcing a
profitable third quarter (1.7B profit, $.43/share
earnings and the sixth consecutive quarter of
Also, on the way to Convergence as I traveled
down I94 into Detroit, my eyes were drawn to
the new Gentex bill board advertising open-
ings for software engineers. It has been sev-
eral years since I’ve seen the public display of
these opportunities. Hiring is slowly occurring
in key technology areas (e.g. software, wire-
less, etc.) as needed to execute new pro-
grams adopting electronics.
A key take away from Convergence is that
electronics is important, not only from a
functional viewpoint – safety and EV, but as
the means to differentiate the vehicle and
brand. Derrick Kuzak, Ford Executive VP
made this point in his keynote, detailing the
role of the Signature HMI and technologies
in Ford vehicles (e.g. SYNC, Fusion Hybrid
cluster, Taurus – “the most innovative car”,
etc.). The Automotive Forum sponsored by
Nuance reinforced the strategic importance
of the HMI (see MyTouchLincoln as shown
on the exhibition floor below).
Nuance advocates voice technology as the
key enabler to the safe, useable and desir-
able HMI. Look to Ford SYNC, OnStar, ATX
and others leading in the application of con-
nectivity to our vehicles to see the impor-
tance of voice. We provide a brief report on
Nuance’s Auto Forum on page 4
The purpose of this newsletter is to survey
Convergence, especially the infotainment
related products/technologies and to identify
opportunities and developments of interest
A U T O T E C H I N S I D E R ,
L L C
Newsletter N O V / D E C 2 0 1 0
Automotive Electronics in Recovery –
2010 Convergence Conference
I N S I DE
TH I S
I S S UE :
CES — Key
P A G E 2
to our Autotechinsider friends and clients. At the end of this newsletter we talk about a spe-
cial offer as we will be attending and reporting on key events associated with automotive
electronics. Our goal once again is to provide valuable and affordable business and technol-
ogy intelligence reports.
Microsoft and Ford Keynotes – Consumer in the Driver Seat
Back to what we learned at Convergence, the Microsoft keynote underscored a theme of
Convergence that the “consumer is in the driver’s seat”. Microsoft is not only offering Win-
dows as part of the infotainment system, SYNC, but will partner with Ford to provide an inte-
grated home energy management system, called Holm, with the car. Microsoft’s Holm allows
the car owner to determine the best time to charge their EV/plug-in.
Derrick Kuzak best articulated the
theme of the customer in the driver’s
seat, by identifying the key features as
quality, green, safe and smart. Smart
was defined as leadership in interiors,
especially infotainment, typified by
Ford SYNC - leadership achieved
through a steady and consistent
stream of signature (branded) tech-
nologies. The newly announced
Applink will open up the Ford cars,
such as the new 2011 Fiesta, to smart
phone applications, of two types:
1. designed especially for Ford, such
as Drivers Ed 2.0
2. or popular phone apps such as
Pandora, Twitter, etc. adapted to
Ford is partnering with many new companies, non-traditional CE companies as a key ele-
ment of the strategy to be innovative and first to market.
Carmaker Speak – The role of suppliers is changing
We have attended Convergence, since the late 1990s and consider the Carmakers Blue Rib-
bon Panel, moderated by Paul Hansen of the Paul Hansen Report fame, a highlight of the
conference. This panel included the chief electrical engineers from Ford, GM, Honda, Chrys-
ler, PSA and BMW. The group addressed nine questions offered by Paul Hansen and a few
others that came from the floor. The questions addressed the challenges of increasing com-
plexity, the tradeoffs between using virtual and physical prototypes for testing, software secu-
rity, the changing role of suppliers, and the growing challenges of hybrid powertrains, thermal
management, and intelligent highway systems.
The panel also talked about newer standards, and Paul challenged the panelists to comment
on whether or not they are implementing them in their coming products. The standards dis-
cussed included AUTOSAR, Flexray, GENIVI (Linux based), Android, Nokia’s Terminal
Mode, Ethernet, and Bluetooth Message Access Protocol. It was especially interesting that
BMW said they plan to implement all of these standards while Ford and Honda only plan to
make use of one or two of them. We expect, as Ford stated, that manufacturers would imple-
ment the standards that make good business. Therefore we should expect a variety of imple-
mentations or “ecosystems” to emerge using these
“a theme of
the “consumer is
in the driver’s
A U T O T E C H I N S I D E R
2010 Convergence Keynotes/Panels - Continued
continues to be a
providing us insight
into the future of
auto electronics .”
P A G E 3
Convergence Exhibition – New Technologies and Tools available
Eighty two exhibitors, as listed by SAE, were
present with Ford and Microsoft having large
and busy booths as shown below. Several
companies such as QNX, Microsoft, BSquare,
Elektrobit, WindRiver (GENIVI) and MECEL
showed new tools and capabilities for improv-
ing time to market for software and user inter-
face development. An example is shown to the
right, a new user interface tool development
environment from MECEL.
QNX supports mobile applications; a platform-
agnostic approach is promoted to deliver con-
nectivity to a variety of devices. For example,
both Noika’s Terminal Mode and Apple’s ap-
proach to display content from an iPhone or
iPod touch was demoed. These technologies
were showcased in the Corvette to include a
multimedia head unit and a dynamically reconfigurable digital instrument cluster.
In conclusion, Convergence continues to be a defining event, providing us insight into the future of auto
electronics. We might expect an off/gap year program to provide technical papers in the same manner as
Convergence. SAE is looking for our thoughts and ideas as to an alternative method/format. I have sug-
gested a Webinar format.
A U T O T E C H I N S I D E R
2010 Convergence Exhibition - Continued
Last week Dave McNamara attended the first Nuance auto forum held in North America. Nuance has held similar
technical and networking events with their clients and partners in Europe and Asia with great success.
Nuance has emerged as the leader of voice technology, thanks to their commitment and hard work over the years.
Voice has arrived as the key user interface technology. Ford SYNC has validated the importance and market ac-
ceptance of voice for complex data entry such as music search – “speech is the natural way to interface to music”.
The launch of Ford SYNC in Europe and the expanded launch as MyTouch Ford/MyTouch Lincoln in NA will widen
global market acceptance. As mentioned in the Telematics Update User interface Report, the 30 or so HMI experts
interviewed agreed, “voice is of strategic importance to a compelling and easy to use interface”.
The forum, held at the elegant MGM Detroit venue, presented the audience, attended by about 120, with an objec-
tive and in-depth understanding of not only the recent market trends but the best practices in integrating voice. We
learned voice has expanded its utility beyond voice control to music search - to new features such as SMS dictation
and will eventually support new in-car social networking apps.
We hope Nuance decides to return to Detroit next year!!
A report on the Nuance Auto Forum –
Voice the User Interface of Choice!
P A G E 4
Telematics and IntelliDrive at Convergence
There were several excellent technical papers presented at the session, Smart Safety is Connected, relative to
Telematics and IntelliDrive. Notable were the following papers relative to new applications, (e.g. voice based and
EV related), hybrid system design for embedded and personal phone communications and modeling, assessing
and determining the benefits of IntelliDrive:
- 2010-01-2313, Commercial Business Viability of IntelliDriveSM Safety Applications, Robert White,
Tao Zhang, Paul Tukey, Kevin Lu, Telcordia Technologies; David McNamara, MTS LLC
- 22010-01-2314, Realizing Customization and Personalization through Vehicle Connectivity, Niall T.
Berkery, ATX Group
- 2010-01-2315, Connected Vehicle Accelerates Green Driving, Tsuguo Nobe, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
- 2010-01-2316, Digital Maps, Connectivity and Electric Vehicles - Enhancing the EV/PHEV Ownership
Experience, Kevin Moran, Brendan Foley, Ulrich Fastenrath, Jeff Raimo, NAVTEQ
- 2010-01-2317, Using IntelliDriveSM Connectivity to Improve Mobility and Environmental Preservation
at Signalized Intersections, Roger Berg, Denso International America Inc.
P A G E 5
Key Events to Follow – 2010 SEMA in November
and 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in January
This is an exciting season for automotive electronics. The Special
Equipment Manufacturers Equipment, (SEMA) “aftermarket” an-
nual show held in Las Vegas opens in early November. The after-
market will showcase their ingenuity and importantly their partner-
ship with OEMs to seamlessly integrate new and compelling fea-
tures/functions. For example, Ford will recognize craftsmanship,
ingenuity through its vehicle design awards. This Ford award rec-
ognizes unique vehicles that make a significant contribution to vehi-
cle design. OEMs continue to open the car’s interior to the plethora
of consumer devices and are working closely with the “aftermarket”.
The other key event on our calendar is the Consumer Electronics
Show held in Las Vegas, January 6-9th.
We expect Mr. Mulally, CEO of Ford, to again use the CES venue to make industry defining announcements – what
will Ford SYNC pioneer next?
The Audi Chairman, Rupert Stadler, will join Mulally to make CES an auto
show. Audi will be the first luxury car to exhibit at the Electric Vehicle
Techzone. The Consumer Telematics Show, will be held the day prior to
CES. This event, sponsored by Telematics Update, will focus on the ap-
plication of Telematics, connectivity and wireless to vehicles.
AutoTechInsider LLC is always delighted by what we learn by attending
these industry-defining shows!! As a service to our customers, we are
making both of our new expanded reports - SEMA 2010 and CES 2010
available to our clients for the discounted price of $399 – an offer avail-
able until January 4, 2011. Note: after Jan 4th the reports will be sold
separately for $199 and $399 respectively.
These will be extensive reports - a full narrative, photos and analysis based on a walk through the shows. I think you
will agree this is a value and that you should take advantage of this offer. These are challenging, but promising times
for our industry – resurgence! . Please visit our site to place your order and to obtain past reports, many of them free.
The automobile industry is profoundly affected by adjacent industries that
produce the technologies that are involved, directly or indirectly, in the
production of a vehicle. Since the percentage of a given vehicle's cost re-
lated to electronics, software, networking solutions, and related services
continues to grow, we are most interested in these technology areas.
Based own our extensive experience in the automotive industry, we cover
major events and produce insightful reports on the technologies, the com-
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