Issue: Oct 2010


Ai interview - Graham Smethurst, president and spokesman of the GENIVI Alliance



by Lenny Case

End-July saw the GENIVI Alliance adding a new core member to its ranks. Hyundai Motor Company became a core member of the GENIVI Alliance, which is an automotive and consumer electronics industry association driving the development and adoption of an open in-vehicle infotainment or IVI reference platform. Hyundai is the first Korean OEM to join GENIVI.

“The addition of Hyundai marks a milestone for GENIVI as we continue our expansion into Asia. GENIVI’s continued success hinges on the contribution of OEMs of the caliber of Hyundai and we look forward to working with them as we continue to improve the GENIVI Alliance platform,” said Graham Smethurst, president of the GENIVI Alliance.

At the same time when Hyundai joined, during the recently-held, second all-member meeting of existing GENIVI members held in Germany, nine other companies from industries ranging from consumer electronics to automotive also joined as core members. These include AISIN AW CO. LTD., Altran Praxis, Ericpol Telecom, NAV N GO KFT, NetLogic Microsystems, Inc., NVIDIA, Sirius XM, STMicroelectronics and Telemotive AG. Amongst the topics discussed at the second all-member GENIVI meeting were the planned features for the second GENIVI Alliance platform release and support for the second semiconductor architecture (ARM-based).

In March this year, the GENIVI Alliance celebrated its first anniversary – GENIVI was launched in March 2009. During its first year, the GENIVI Alliance, while maintaining its rapid growth, developed and released to members its first version of the Alliance Platform just nine months after launch. The platform was demonstrated publicly for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January 2010. Also in January 2010, ARM joined GENIVI to work directly with their licensees to ensure the applicability of the GENIVI stack across multiple microprocessor architectures.

“GENIVI’s performance for our first year has exceeded expectations
thanks to the cooperation and efforts of our member companies. The short development time for the first GENIVI platform version and the CES demonstrations serve as tangible proof points that GENIVI’s approach will deliver on its promise of shortening product development cycles and reducing costs while maintaining high quality and supporting product differentiation. Our industry needs GENIVI now more than ever,” said Smethurst. 

GENIVI’s strategic initiatives chalked out in 2009 were to accelerate the development and implementation of the fully connected vehicle for infotainment applications. Plus, the alliance promised to deliver a platform consisting of standardized middleware, application layer interfaces and frameworks and extend open source community innovations to support the automotive domain. The forum also promised to engage developers to deliver compliant implementations and sponsor technical, marketing, and compliance programs. The benefits of the GENIVI platform, says the alliance, is that it speeds time-to-market, accelerates the pace at which new and compelling automotive applications are developed, dramatically reduces development costs, provides code transparency, broadens options for integrating and customizing solutions and increases IVI interchangeability across vehicle makes and models thus growing the entire IVI ecosystem.

“I expect GENIVI to enable a re-profiling of who does what within the value chain. By opening up, both technically and commercially, it will enable increased competition by creating alternatives. This is essential if we are to stay on par with the consumer sector. For example, by making the GENIVI reference implementation available in open source, new and existing developers will be able to create new and exciting features that they are then able to offer to automakers and 1st tiers for commercialization on the basis of a consistent platform. GENIVI is unique in having eliminated all single point dependencies in the value chain for the delivery of an infotainment product. The close alignment of the GENIVI platform to the consumer ecosystem and the increased choices during product development will move the IVI industry away from its proprietary origins,” said Smethurst in an earlier interview to Automotive Industries.

Automotive Industries caught up with Graham Smethurst, president and spokesman of the GENIVI Alliance and general manager, infotainment and communications systems at the BMW Group.

AI: What were some of the major achievements of the GENIVI Alliance during the first year?

In addition to the obvious examples of GENIVIv1.0 delivery and rapid membership growth, GENIVI has placed the topic of open source firmly on the agenda for automotive IVI development and triggered the industry transformation that it was created to achieve. The momentum achieved in the first year has already resulted in product nominations. The focus resulting from product development is further enhancing and accelerating the activities already underway within numerous alliance development teams.

AI: What are some of the planned features of the second Alliance Platform release?

With the second platform release GENIVI will address two of its strategic goals. A collaboration between ARM and its licensees will deliver the 1st GENIVI ARM reference, demonstrating the multi-platform capabilities of the GENIVI stack, this is key in ensuring silicon choices during commercialization. In addition GENIVI will deliver the first iteration of its compliance programme, intended to avoid fragmentation during product development.

AI: When is the second version slated for release?

The second reference release is planned for Q4 this year, it will be one of the headline topics at the 3rd members meeting taking place in Detroit 19th -21st October.

AI: What is the significance of Hyundai becoming a core member?

The automakers in GENIVI are key to creating the market pull required for GENIVI´s continued global success. A partner like Hyundai introduces GENIVI into a new and important region and with their help we will ensure that the platform develops to meet the needs of that market.

AI: What is GENIVI’s strategy in Asia?

28% of GENIVI members are located in Asia. To enable their effective contribution the alliance is piloting regional development teams. This initiative is intended to reduce the impact of time differences and potential language barriers whilst enabling local groups to collaborate under the guidance of the GENIVI technical council.

AI: What kind of feedback have you received over the past year from OEMs, developers and the IVI sector?

GENIVI is enabling a fundamental change in approach to IVI development. For many members GENIVI continues to be a voyage of discovery, but feedback from all quarters overwhelmingly confirms the logic behind the community based standardization of the non-differentiating elements of the IVI stack. Members are clearly coming to terms with the benefits of open source and showing increased understanding of what it means and how to operate effectively within the new approach.


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