What is the CPU model of the infotainment system?

Jimrpa

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Hah, very interesting thread, and what a complete and total sea change from my teenage gearhead days. Back in the 70's (ugh I'm that old) we'd sit around drinking beers on the beach, talking about the nuts and bolts of the latest improvements to our vintage stallions that we salvaged from the 60's. As middle aged nerd now, it kinda puts a smile on my face to see that APIs are going to be the next gen tools needed for home project cars of the future. Did not think about that one coming.

Okay, so now the real point of this post. Is there a good resource for understanding the grand sphere of infotainment options in the EV sector, and where folks are speculating this is going to head? My impression is that Android systems are out front, though I could be totally wrong. Who, that is serious, is also in play, and will there be consolidation and disrupt going forward? What about Apps, and interoperability prospects? Will there be a similar pinch point between Android and IOS based apps, e.g. Apple's messenger app?

My thinking/concern on this comes from the fact that I can see a future where traveller assistance tools will be based on a client-server architecture to access cloud services, and for these to be effective, really need to be uniform, i.e. independent of the OS, rather than proprietary tools tapping into the underlying OS in some bizarre way only to provide economic benefit to the overlords. Given all the court cases of late right now, and the bitching in the press, seems like finding common ground in an RFC is not likely anytime soon, so I'm curious as to what folks think the risk ahead is for App development in this sector.
I’m wondering if there’s code signing or something that would make loading code on the car difficult?
 

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Based on some research (random press releases + ford job postings) I believe Sync is a C++ Qt/QML based piece of software running on top of QNX. A lot of manufacturers seem to be using Qt these days. In theory this will make the move to Android easier since Qt is easily portable.
As a nerd from outside the industry, does anyone know if there's support for 3rd party app development that would work like our cell phone apps, or will this all be funneled through the automakers and their relationships with Google/BB?
 

macchiaz-o

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Based on some research (random press releases + ford job postings) I believe Sync is a C++ Qt/QML based piece of software running on top of QNX. A lot of manufacturers seem to be using Qt these days. In theory this will make the move to Android easier since Qt is easily portable.
I'm thinking maybe SYNC 3 uses Qt or whatever... But maybe the majority of SYNC 4A is using web renderer(s) on QNX?

https://www.macheforum.com/site/thr...rd-sync-4a-name-revealed.333/page-2#post-4815

Web content is also portable. Not that they'd necessarily do that if/when moving to Android Automotive...
 

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As a nerd from outside the industry, does anyone know if there's support for 3rd party app development that would work like our cell phone apps, or will this all be funneled through the automakers and their relationships with Google/BB?
Yes, the vehicle supports SYNC AppLink, which allows a smart phone app to run certain user interfaces within SYNC. You can try this out with iHeartRadio, for example.

https://developer.ford.com/
 
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Based on some research (random press releases + ford job postings) I believe Sync is a C++ Qt/QML based piece of software running on top of QNX. A lot of manufacturers seem to be using Qt these days. In theory this will make the move to Android easier since Qt is easily portable.
Yeah, I see similar stuff in the job postings. Qt works well on QNX, and it has functional safety components so it is widely used. It will be very difficult to port to Android however since Android, at least at this point, requires the JVM. Also, Android's build system is pretty funky from what I understand. But, Volvo and I think some other companies are using it (GM?), so perhaps by the time Ford gets their hands on it it'll be in better shape, I don't know.

Other companies are using Linux in place of QNX and some even have things like navigation in the cluster which is pretty tricky because mixing infotainment and functional safety processes can be not just complex but also change your ASIL level. But I guess Ford is going to keep Android on the head unit and have a separate cluster? The cluster in the MME is pretty nice, clear, easy to read, simple. I think it is a good strategy. If they isolate the cluster CPU from the infotainment CPU then they'll have greater security and can perhaps open up the IVI system to third party developers. They don't seem to have a great third party ecosystem or documentation at the moment though.
 

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Whatever it is, it is old, slow, outdated and unable to keep up. So in other words, the same as every other manufacturer. One day hopefully in the not to distant future, auto manufacturers will realize the value of NOt under powering their in user systems, and that the value, and even the extra cost associated with that, will pay dividends in the user experience and future sales. If you like waiting for your system to "boot up" and become responsive when you get in your car, then more power to you. You certainly have more patience than I do. Personally, I would happily pay $1000 more for a more capable system. I know I'm not in the majority along those lines. Probably why we still have under powered computers in cars. again, imo...
 
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Whatever it is, it is old, slow, outdated and unable to keep up. So in other words, the same as every other manufacturer. One day hopefully in the not to distant future, auto manufacturers will realize the value of NOt under powering their in user systems, and that the value, and even the extra cost associated with that, will pay dividends in the user experience and future sales. If you like waiting for your system to "boot up" and become responsive when you get in your car, then more power to you. You certainly have more patience than I do. Personally, I would happily pay $1000 more for a more capable system. I know I'm not in the majority along those lines. Probably why we still have under powered computers in cars. again, imo...
Show me an iphone or any smartphone that will last 10+ years while enduring -40C to 100+ C temperatures, harsh vibrations, robust to scratches, endure cyclic humidity, etc. Automotive grade hardware is magnitudes more expensive than compute found in handheld devices. Automakers can easily make faster systems by using nonautomotive grade compute/processing but that wont last a year. Having both automotive grade and high performance is insanely expensive and hard to find.

My iphone doesn't lost 5 minutes in a sauna, it powers off if it gets slightly hot.

ag.PNG
 
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Show me an iphone or any smartphone that will last 10+ years while enduring -40C to 40+ C temperatures, harsh vibrations, robust to scratches, etc. Automotive grade hardware is magnitudes more expensive than compute found in handheld devices. Automakers can easily make faster systems by using nonautomotive grade compute/processing but that wont last a year. Having both automotive grade and high performance is insanely expensive and hard to find.

My iphone doesn't lost 5 minutes in a sauna, it powers off if it gets slightly hot.

ag.PNG
My iPhone shuts down after 20 min. sitting in my car on a hot day, 🤦‍♂️
 

ChasingCoral

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Wow, that's very cool that folks have already built custom media players!

I think the MME is running SYNC 4, at least that is what the owners manual says. SYNC 4 appears to be Windows Embedded on top of QNX.
The Mach E has Sync4A
 

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Show me an iphone or any smartphone that will last 10+ years while enduring -40C to 100+ C temperatures, harsh vibrations, robust to scratches, endure cyclic humidity, etc. Automotive grade hardware is magnitudes more expensive than compute found in handheld devices. Automakers can easily make faster systems by using nonautomotive grade compute/processing but that wont last a year. Having both automotive grade and high performance is insanely expensive and hard to find.

My iphone doesn't lost 5 minutes in a sauna, it powers off if it gets slightly hot.

ag.PNG
I agree completely with @agoldman. Even if it is not possible to just simply use phone CPUs in a car, I would happily pay more money to get a more responsive user interface in the vehicle. People buy these sorts of upgraded CPUs all the time on personal computers that cost a couple grand, adding several hundred to the price. What's another several hundred in the context of a car purchase, especially when you consider how much standalone vehicle options cost.
 

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The system is a little laggy. But I wouldn’t say it’s terrible or really much to complain about.

Honestly the only time the lag can be frustrating for me is when using sliders for HVAC controls such as temp and fan speed. It would be a lot better if we could also use the physical knob for these controls in addition to the touch slider. I’m hoping Ford makes that enhancement soon.
 
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I’m wondering if there’s code signing or something that would make loading code on the car difficult?
Usually the boot image is signed. At least that's what I've heard.
 
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Jeremiah

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Show me an iphone or any smartphone that will last 10+ years while enduring -40C to 100+ C temperatures, harsh vibrations, robust to scratches, endure cyclic humidity, etc. Automotive grade hardware is magnitudes more expensive than compute found in handheld devices. Automakers can easily make faster systems by using nonautomotive grade compute/processing but that wont last a year. Having both automotive grade and high performance is insanely expensive and hard to find.

My iphone doesn't lost 5 minutes in a sauna, it powers off if it gets slightly hot.

ag.PNG
You can easily swap out Intel CPUs for the under-powered ARM CPUs a lot of manufacturers use and still be "automotive grade."
 
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Jeremiah

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This has already been happening. Thus automakers building up from large, feature rich, well tested, automotive grade operating systems such as BlackBerry QNX or the up and coming Google Android Automotive.

The fact that many large automakers are already using large, common building blocks is evidence that they do understand how to control margins, interoperate, integrate, and provide for customer experiences. (Yes that last part, customer experience, is also seemingly the hardest part as it relies on everything else going perfectly smoothly.)
As far as industry standardization of IVI goes, I worked in the field for about a decade for GENIVI. There was a move toward Linux as the Infotainment OS, and that continues with the Linux Foundation's Automotive Grade Linux. For infotainment (maps, media, personalization, etc.) Linux is a good choice because of it's flexibility and broad hardware support. There is still a lot of middleware and apps needed however which is partly what is precipitating the move to Android. One problem is that Android is Java based which means it is slow (you need to boot the JVM) and not really automotive grade. Also, there's interest by the car companies to have "clustertainment" with navigation in the cluster as well as in the head unit. This requires communication between the different systems: the infotainment system and the drive by wire system which is usually a functional safety system. If you want to do this kind of thing it helps to have a more flexible OS and QNX, while it is a RTOS, is not hugely flexible by design. So there's interest in using Linux too for the cluster OS. Linux has a way to go before it is safety certified to the same level of QNX however, though there's work being done to certify it to ASIL B.

So the car makers are all moving in different directions: Toyota to AGL, Daimler with its own Linux platform, BMW from GENIVI to Android, Ford staying with QNX (at least for now) and GM moving to Android from a bespoke Linux platform. Tesla uses their own Linux platform with Qt. Sadly, the standardization push has largely broken down and we likely won't see any interoperability although most cars will offer Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto.

Linux runs really well on the i.MX 8 so I'd love to try and find a way to boot Linux on the MME CPU or on a developer board. Then one can customize the entire IVI experience and even the entire car (as long as there is an API to the car.) :)
 

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