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Saab demos in-car Android infotainment system with open API

Mar 2, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 19 views

Saab Automobile unveiled an Android-based in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) concept supported by an open API and app store. The “Saab IQon” system is equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen, provides streaming multimedia, navigation, and on-board storage, and offers API access to more than 500 sensor signals that can be remotely relayed back to Saab dealerships.

Saab offered few technical details about the hardware of the Saab IQon, nor did it reveal a timetable for deployment. However, it is showing off an early version of the IQon system in its Saab PhoeniX concept car (right) at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show this week in Switzerland.

The IQon computer will offer an eight-inch touchscreen and combine infotainment and navigation features with more than 500 telemetric sensor signals throughout the car. These can be monitored by the user and/or remotely transmitted back to a Saab dealership. Users will be able to wirelessly upload vehicle data to Saab, carry out diagnostics, provide service appointments, or even install some in-car options, says the Swedish car manufacturer.

Saab Iqon's modified Android interface

(Click to enlarge)

Saab did not detail what type of wireless support would be offered, nor did it offer details on the processor or I/O, although it did say the device will offer on-board storage for music.

Much like the MeeGo Linux-based Genivi Alliance IVI reference platforms, the IQon system will ship with an open application programming interface (API). This will enable third-party developers to write optimized IQon/Android apps that can dig deep into the system, including offering hooks into infotainment, telematics, systems monitoring, and diagnostics functionality.

The APIs are said to provide access to more than 500 signals from different vehicle sensors. The sensors measure factors such as vehicle speed, location and direction of travel, driver workload, yaw rate, steering wheel angle, engine speed and torque, inside and outside temperature, barometric pressure, and the sun's position, says Saab.

More views of the IQon interface
(Click on either to enlarge)

A Saab IQon app store will be offered, but apps will be closely screened "to ensure high driving safety and quality standards are maintained," says Saab.

In addition to Genivi projects, which include a collaboration between MontaVista and Bosch, as well as one between Wind River, BMW, and Magneti Marelli, there have been several Android infotainment systems announced. These include planned tie-ins with Android on GM OnStar systems on the Chevrolet Volt, and Parrot's 3.2-inch Asteroid car receiver device, which was demo'd at CES in January. Also at CES, Fujitsu demonstrated an Nvidia Tegra 2-based Android car computer concept developed by its Fujitsu Ten subsidiary.

Stated Johan Formgren, head of Saab Aftersales and commercial project leader for IQon:

Our open innovation strategy, using the Android operating system, will keep the provision of in-car infotainment up to date. IQon will allow infotainment services to constantly evolve during the lifetime of a car's product cycle, unlike current in-car systems which are fixed some years before a car goes on sale and then remain static. We will be inviting the global Android developer community to use their imagination and ingenuity.

Saab IQon promo on YouTube
Source: Saab Automotive
(Click to play)


The IQon system is being shown for the first time in the Saab PhoeniX concept car at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show being held in Geneva, Switzerland. Mar 3-13. A beta version of the IQon system is already being trialed with company users in a fleet of test cars, says the company. No timetable for final release was offered.

More information may be found at Saab's IQon announcement page.

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