A2A Symposium 2014 – automotive networking in cross-industry dialogue

On June 3, GIGATRONIK held the 5th symposium on Apps to Automotive. The already-established concept of a cross-industry exchange for the networking and integration of apps in vehicles was very well received by the 115 participants.

After five years of Apps to Automotive, the integration of mobile devices and apps in vehicles is no longer a pipe dream. However, this has not diminished the goals and challenges, which were discussed across sectors on June 3 at the Neckar Forum in Esslingen. As part of the Open Forum, an initiative of the Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation, GIGATRONIK provided experts from various sectors with a platform for a dialogue on adding value through apps in the vehicle - from the integration of mobile devices to apps on new infotainment platforms.

The balanced mixture of lecture themes, including application scenarios, HMI solutions, current market trends and user experience, reflected the heterogeneous business area that has developed from the link between smartphones and vehicles. This allowed the topic to be discussed holistically from the perspectives of software developers, OEMs, service providers and end users.

Several presentations immediately made it clear that the dialogue between these different parties is essential. Wolfram Herzog, CEO of SIC! Software GmbH, viewed market trends from the perspective of software developers, bringing attention to the Google and Apple boom, which is increasing the pressure on automobile manufacturers to create a seamless integration of apps for their customers. Even now, 18% of smartphone owners are still making calls without hands-free equipment, and 13% use their smartphone functions while driving - a sure sign of the need for advanced HMI solutions. Currently, Apple's CarPlay is the only so-called second-screen solution for using apps in the vehicle that is attractive from the developer's point of view. Seamless integration beyond the image channel would require the creation of cross-manufacturer interfaces and protocols.

GIGATRONIK's Severin Friede and Robert Pyttel presented a native infotainment solution for apps in the vehicle. The basis for this is Google's Android mobile operating system, which offers good starting conditions with open source, over-the-air update capabilities and an existing ecosystem. Automotive uses will require the addition of security enhancements, such as authorization and access controls, as well as a CAN connection. In a subsequent live demo via tablet and webcam, the developers demonstrated their advanced Android system, allowing safe management and use of apps in the vehicle.

The application scenarios for apps in the vehicle are now numerous. Students of the Stuttgart Media University demonstrated an app for automated travel costings, which they developed in cooperation with Daimler AG. Audi Electronics Venture's Altay Cebe presented app-piloted parking, already presented by Audi in the wider context at CES 2014.

A crucial factor for the success of apps and connect functions in the vehicle is the end consumer, and therefore the user experience, as Karsten Winkler of P3 automotive made clear in his speech. P3 automotive tested the user experience of connected-car products from various manufacturers across all touchpoints, from the information available on the OEM's website through the presentation of connected functions at the dealer to call-centre advice on the integration of individual smartphones. None of the OEMs managed a consistently good user-experience score. To achieve this, the entire development and use phase of services and apps would need to be looked into. Right from the phase of specification, implementation and integration, the user experience should be taken into account in tests.

While the user experience of the vehicle-smartphone connection still needs to be optimized, there is already a trend to extend communication between humans and machines on larger networks. Axel Torschmied of Visteon Innovation & Technology presented the research project "D3CoS - Designing Dynamic Distributed Cooperative Human-Machine Systems". The aim of the major project, successfully completed in 2014, was to promote the development of cooperative human-machine systems to cover an entire domain, such as aerospace, marine or automotive vehicles, from a multi-agent perspective. This involved the development of cost-reducing methods, techniques and tools that can be integrated into industrial system-development processes.

Cross-domain networking is also envisioned under the heading "Connected Life". In their presentation on this topic, Jens Binder of GIGATRONIK and Peter Kellendonk of the Kellendonk Group cited comfort, energy efficiency and security as the driving factors for integrating entire life worlds, whereby the automotive environment should also be integrated and codesigned. This integration is being promoted by the federally funded EEBus initiative, which networks stakeholders in the energy, telecommunications and electrical industry to create a sustainable infrastructure for smart networks.

The challenge of combining the interests of the different parties and creating global standards is as great as ever. All the more for this it needs a cross-industry dialogue, for which A2A provides the ideal platform, emphasizes Dr. Edwin Tscheschlok, chair of the board of directors of the GIGATRONIK Group. "Mobile networking is constantly increasing its scope. This is why an interdisciplinary exchange of the type we are promoting with A2A is more important than ever," said Dr. Tscheschlok. Udo Würth, Director of GIGATRONIK Mobile Solutions and overall coordinator of A2A, draws a positive conclusion from the symposium: "We are pleased with the success of the event, which this year has again fully met the goal of bringing different sectors and stakeholders together and expanding professional networks." Away from the lectures, there was the opportunity of further extending the dialogue at exhibits such as GIGATRONIK's E-Quad and the multimodal HMI demonstrator, and making contacts at the communal evening event.

Florian Rubländer
Corporate Communications