Vehicles have become the new frontier for the information technology industry. Drivers, engines, passengers, drive trains and even the bodywork are in constant contact through a vast array of switches and systems. One of the main partners in the development of a new affordable telematics system by Fiat Auto and Microsoft was Magneti Marelli. Giuseppe Rosso, CEO of Magneti Marelli Sistemi Elettronici tells Ed Richardson of Automotive Industries about some of the developments.
AI: Co-developed by Microsoft and Fiat Auto, the new telematics system is a real breakthrough; please describe Magneti Marelli’s contribution
Rosso: Magneti Marelli participated in the development of the Microsoft platform “Windows Mobile for Automotive” (WMfA) including Magneti Marelli’s proprietary “dead-reckoning algorithms” for positioning, eliminating the need for a gyroscope. Using the WMfA platform, Magneti Marelli also participated in the development of the telematics product for Fiat’s specific needs, and has recently started production.
AI: As Magneti Marelli is the components arm of the Fiat Group building the devices, will this experience give you opportunities to manufacture the new telematics system for other vehicle makers?
Rosso: Magneti Marelli Group is owned by Fiat, but supplies all the major car manufacturers throughout the world. Several major European car makers have adopted Magneti Marelli telematics and navigation systems.
Magneti Marelli Sistemi Elettronici is able to combine in a compact, modular and integrated architecture functions relating to vehicle management, navigation, multimedia, and connectivity with portable devices. Our experience in participating in the development of the WMfA platform and in Fiat’s telematics application is already opening up new opportunities with other vehicle manufacturers. Other potential applications are already under development, and we are confident that the WMfA platform has an exciting future.
AI: What other expertise does Magneti Marelli have?
Rosso: Magneti Marelli infotainment systems integrate: GPS navigation, hi-fi radio, CD player (compatible with MP3), GSM dual band telephone, advanced Voice Recognition and “text-to-speech” functionality, RDS-TMC, WAP Connection, SMS, CD-changer management and services such as breakdown assistance and Emergency call, where in the event of an accident the emergency services are automatically alerted of the vehicle’s precise position.
AI: What other products are on the production line?
Rosso: Magneti Marelli systems offer advanced voice recognition functionality: the system accepts a number of standard voice commands to control the radio, CD player, navigation system and the telephone (Speaker Independent Mode). It is also possible to associate a voice tag with an address book entry or a navigation destination (Speaker Dependent Mode).
Drivers will be able to choose a full-featured system exploiting all the latest developments in multimedia applications and also be connected to the Internet and various telematics services. Emergency and breakdown call centers will be within reach in a matter of seconds. Just by keeping hands on the steering wheel, all the systems have adopted the most advanced voice recognition and text-to-speech technology.
Magneti Marelli infotainment products exist in two different kinds of architecture:
2-DIN with an integrated display or 1-DIN with a remote display. The remote display can be a stand-alone display or can be integrated in the instrument cluster as we have done for some car manufacturers.
Magneti Marelli systems are offered with various different display configurations:
– Color TFT displays allowing full color map displays
– Monochromatic displays that allow turn by turn navigation with intersection zooms.
AI: Please tell us about your partnership with Autoliv Electronics.
Rosso: We have a very strong joint development team, which is initially focusing on the development, manufacture and marketing of a highly optimized platform for E-call.
“E-call” is an automatic crash notification function that calls an emergency center immediately after a serious accident to get a rescue team to the site of a crash even if the driver is unconscious. There is a proposal to make such systems mandatory on all new European vehicles from 2009. These systems can also include a Stolen Vehicle Tracking (SVT)function, integrated telephones and other hands-free functions, and can even be extended to remote diagnostics applications. Customer interest in these developments is strong and we have already received our first order for such systems.