Cars are set to get smarter if RIM subsidiary QNX has its way. The company announced the QNX Car Platform 2.0 and an associated development platform at CES 2013, which is now available to auto manufacturers.

QNX partnered with Bentley to produce a concept car based on a Bentley Continental GT convertible that was unveiled by both the companies at CES. The platform will feature everything from smartphone integration to 3D navigation.

Consumers have become conditioned by the rapid evolution of mobile devices, and the QNX CAR application platform was expressly designed to help automotive companies address those time-to-market expectations – while maintaining automotive-grade reliability and performance,” said Derek Kuhn, Vice President – Sales and Marketing, QNX Software Systems.

Zooming into the future of Smart Cars

Zooming into the future of Smart Cars

The centre stack with DLP display from Texas Instruments Inc. is one of the highlights of the platform. With its full HD graphics and Optical Touch input technology, QNX has tried to strike a balance between physical and touch controls. The system has Natural voice recognition based on AT&T WatsonSM that will talk back to you in a fancy British accent.

The smartphone integration too has been given special importance by QNX with flexible displays of music, incoming calls and emails in a manner appropriate to automotive contexts. It also heralds the first in-car use of Shazam to discover new music. That’s not all. The car itself is cloud connected to the Platform to help owners keep a check on everything about the car from fluid levels to tyre pressure. The data will be available using HTML5

Simply connect to a web app and keep tabs on the Bentley in real time! The Bentley is cloud-connected and continuously publishes a variety of data about itself (current media track, fluid levels, tire pressure, etc.) that you can view on any device with a browser that supports HTML5 – no app download needed. In the real world, only the driver would have access to this functionality, but the demo is available to everyone to demonstrate the possibilities of cloud access.

The most surprising – and almost scary – feature is the video conferencing capacity of the Platform to turn the car into a mobile office, ‘When the car is parked, of course.’

Check out the video released by QNX for a demo.

The Platform will feature a reconfigurable digital instrument cluster that provides context appropriate information, like pairing with the 3D navigation system to show a turn when they’re easiest to see, display current weather conditions and a video feed of the car's back-up camera, as well as a tachometer, speedometer and other virtual instruments. The Bentley features an LTE radio modem and Wi-Fi hotspot for devices brought into the car too.

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