PBS-TV’s MotorWeek visited Intel headquarters recently. Steven Chupnick wanted to learn how the tiny, mighty Intel Atom processor can help automakers stay in step with consumer trends. He met with Staci Palmer, director of Intel’s In-Vehicle Infotainment, Embedded and Communications Group, who talked about how computer technology can connect autos to the Internet to bring information, entertainment and even maintenance services anywhere the auto goes.
Here’s a quick video and photo slideshow I captured while taking Steve around the Intel Headquarters.
During the recent Intel Developer Forum, Intel CEO Paul Otellini showed that the Atom processor is driving advanced technology into new areas from hospital patient monitoring to avionics applications to audio systems, including Harman International Industries, the provider of a wide range of audio and infotainment products for vehicles.
Harman International recently announced new in-car devices based on the Atom core that will enable full Internet access, 3-D navigation, brilliant graphics and high-speed wireless connectivity.
In Otellini’s IDF keynote presentation, he pointed to a chart showing how fast in-vehicle infotainment systems are growing – a 17 percent range even during a time of depressed automotive sales. He pointed out that many of the automotive manufacturers and the suppliers to that industry have come together on is a new alliance called GENIVI, which is focused on creating interoperable standards for in-vehicle infotainment across the automotive industry.
Paul revealed that Intel with working with Harman to put Atom-based systems into BMW and Daimler. He said that Daimler will put it into their S-Class and C-Class series starting around 2012, and BMW is developing a cross-platform, which means it goes across all their models, as an option for 2012 and beyond.
I’ve heard talk and seen demostrations about embedding Internet technologies in cars since I joined Intel in 2000. I even got to work with Mad Mike from the then-MTV show “Pimp My Ride” in 2005 when we built an Intel Centrino mobile technology computer system into a Chrysler 300C. But what we learned at IDF in September was that we’re seeing momentum behind building standards-based technology that can — well, hopefully — someday become standard in new cars.
I’ll keep watching this and learning more about progress as the auto industry buckles up and gets back into shape after a very difficult time in 2009. Meantime, here are some Intel resources:
- Intel’s In-Vehicle Infotainment Web page here
- Intel’s In-Vehicle Infotainment related stories being collected on Delicious
- The Intel Embedded Group’s quest to put the Internet inside 15 Million intelligent, connected devices
A study conducted at the University of Washington has found that home robots may be a security and privacy leak for their owners. The authors of the study point out that it is not the case where intelligent robots will throw off their shackles and attack their owners. It&aposs a situation that some robots on the market can be hacked through the home&aposs wireless network or the robot&aposs wireless connection.
One specific problem pointed out in the press release for the studyÂ was the interception of a robot&aposs video and audio streams. If an attacker could also move the robot, I can well imagine compromising photos being shot and posted on the web or the robot could "case the joint" and discover what valuables are in the house and how the home security system might be overcome.
Depending on the model and features, it would seem conceivable to have the robot actually harm a person within the home. This could be the basis for a "locked room" murder mystery plot. The robot is controlled by an external agent to kill, clean up after itself, and then return to a resting state to await the arrival of the baffled detectives.
One would hope that such studies will alert consumers to be more cautious or mindful of the electronics that will be brought into their private lives. Simple things like changing the default passwords and encrypting home wireless networks will go a long way to give the consumer more security and privacy.
This morning, after ample caffeination (kindly provided by the folks at IDF), I had the opportunity to listen to the keynote given by Dadi Perlmutter, who spoke about the evolving arena of mobile computing and how this vision of the total mobile experience deserves to earn the moniker of ˇ§coolˇ¨ from everyone from the middle-aged tech geek to the rebellious teenage daughter.
Dadiˇ¦s cast of characters during this keynote was colorful, with cameos from both Mooly Eden, VP and GM of the mobile platforms group, and John Saw of Clearwire, who gave his address through a live streaming feed. Johnˇ¦s 4G (WiMax) feed was impressive. The video did not resemble the dubbed kung-fu movies of the late 70s, as the slower 3G feed did, but rather was a proper stream that was in sync and clear enough for us to see the patterns of his Hawaiian shirt, set against an intriguing woodland compound that I assume was the Clearwire headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
To be candid, my personal focus is largely on mobile phones and handhelds and the consumer and brand world. Many of us from that world have walked past the decked-out Intel booths at events like CTIA and GSMA without taking much notice. What weˇ¦re learning quickly, especially here at IDF, is that we within the mobile arena need to be paying much more attention to Intel, and Dadi gave us three reasons why:
Faster (mobile) processing. I was impressed by the Turbo Boost Technology that shuts down half the active cores with each level , then increases the speed for the rest of the cores. This should result in a faster response to the foremost active program. Given that video viewing on mobile is rapidly risingˇXNBC has seen almost 1.3mm full streams of its network episodesˇXvideo playback performance would benefit from this.
Faster wireless broadband. WiMax (4G) is five to ten times faster than 3G, and is rolling out in several cities with more on the way. No longer will we be hesitant to browse on our phones for information or worry that a download will take longer than the micro-moment we have.
Lower power usage, which equates to longer battery lifeˇXthe main gripe of many smartphone users. With a move to smaller processers with higher densities (45nm to 32nm to 22nm by 2013), weˇ¦ll benefit from their lessened electricity use and will no longer fear that playing our audio player now will result in dropping a call or missing a photo op later.
These advances allow developers to have confidence that the high-end assets they create, such as HD video, will have a home on the third screen. And we, as consumers and end users, can live in a world where we trust the connectivity in our hands to the point where mobile will be seen not just as cool, but as the necessary remote control for our lives.