QNX revamps the digital instrument cluster for cars

At the TU-Automotive show in Detriot, QNX has revealed a new digital instrument cluster for vehicles. The new and improved cluster is said to offer drivers a much safer, and more enjoyable experience on the road. With vehicles adding more and more sensors, upcoming clusters will need to be able to display pertinent information to the drivers, and QNX will be providing just that. Drivers will be able to see context-aware data, like curve speed warnings and other information that the drivers would normally only see as a street sign.

Press release:

QNX Leads New Phase of Digital Instrument Cluster Design for a Safer, More Enjoyable Drive

Trusted QNX technology enables seamless integration of navigation, infotainment, and critical driving information for next generation of digital instrument clusters.

DETROIT, TU-Automotive Detroit, Booth C92, June 3 — QNX Software Systems Limited, a subsidiary of BlackBerry Limited, today demonstrated how QNX® OS technology provides a flexible and highly reliable platform for powering next-generation digital instrument clusters. According to a report from IHS Automotive, Automotive User Interfaces 2014, "digitalization of the modern car is progressing at breakneck speed, with research showing that more than 70 percent of cars will ship with a digital display in the instrument cluster by 2018."

The QNX booth at TU-Automotive Detroit features a "cluster innovation wall" that showcases the results of QNX OS technology integrated with user interface design tools from the industry's leading cluster software providers and members of the QNX automotive ecosystem, including 3D Incorporated's REMO HMI Runtime, Crank Software Inc.'s Storyboard Suite, DiSTI Corporation's GL Studio, Elektrobit's EB GUIDE and EB street director, HI Corporation's exbeans UI Conductor, and Rightware's Kanzi UI software. The pre-integration with a rich choice of partner tools enables Tier 1 suppliers and automakers to choose the user interface technologies and design approaches that best address their needs.

As more and more sensors are added to vehicles, next-generation digital instrument clusters will need the ability to deliver the right information at the right time to the driver. Clusters that can deliver context-aware data (such as a curve speed warning if the driver is nearing a sharp bend in the road) will allow drivers to experience a safer, more enjoyable drive. The QNX-powered virtual cockpit in the Audi TT is an example of how clusters can provide rich, situationally relevant presentation of infotainment and traditional driving information.

This evolution of digital instrument clusters requires powerful hardware and software solutions that can support high-level application environments and rich graphics while presenting critical information, such as telltales (engine warning lights or ABS indicators, for example), to the driver in a fast, predictable, and highly reliable fashion. The need to cleanly isolate critical from non-critical software functions in the same environment is driving the requirement for ISO 26262 certification of clusters. QNX OS technology, including the QNX OS for Automotive Safety, is ideally suited for environments where a combination of infotainment, advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) and safety-related information are displayed. Building a cluster with the ISO 26262 ASIL-D certified QNX OS for Automotive Safety can make it simpler to keep software functions isolated from each other and less expensive to certify the end cluster product.

"The digital instrument cluster is undergoing a major transformation as automakers and tier one suppliers work to achieve a better, more distinctive driving experience," said Andrew Poliak, director of global business development, QNX Software Systems. "When it comes to integrating critical and non-critical applications and information in a cluster environment, safety and security are top priorities. Moreover, one design does not fit all. The reliability and flexibility of QNX technology, coupled with our extensive partner ecosystem, allows customers to pick the cluster technology and supplier best-suited to their specific needs, including performance, customization, and upgradeability."

With software deployments in more than 50 million cars, QNX Software Systems is the premier software platform supplier for the automotive infotainment and telematics market. The company is extending its reach into the vehicle with products such as the QNX OS for Automotive Safety, which builds on the company's deep experience in safety-critical applications.