Posted: 30 Sep 2009 12:11 AM PDT
What’s so great about Flash is that it extends beyond the desktop. It’s being used on billboards and in stadiums for advertising, on our televisions through widgets and interactive TV show guides, in the palm of your hand on mobile devices, and now it’s available in your car.
QNX CAR Application Platform
The QNX Connected Automotive Reference (CAR) platform gives automakers and automotive suppliers the tools and technologies needed to rapidly build compelling, connected, and extensible in-vehicle systems. Part of this platform is heavily reliant on Flash for the creation and branding of interactive interfaces for car dashboard displays, entertainment consoles and rear-seat entertainment units. Services such as games, widgets, movies and Internet radio can all be dynamically integrated into this system.
Right Here. Right Now.
This technology is not something that is being discussed or might happen in the future, it’s actually happening now. Manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar, Mercedes, Porsche and Toyota all currently ship vehicles with QNX-based systems.
The kind of applications currently running on QNX are media players, phone utilities, contact information, picture viewers, and weather feeds. These applications are all harnessing the power of Adobe Flash to create a rich experience for car owners.
One of the advantages Flash affords the QNX platform is the ability for car manfacturers to skin their own interfaces. The interface above for exmaple is a standard template for QNX that can be tweaked accordingly based on the branding requirements of each individual car manufacturer.
Digital Instrument Cluster
On top of the QNX operating system is the HMI framework. This framework is the foundation for the technology that provides all the underlying functionality to readily turn Flash code into full-fledged, integrated applications with a consistent look and feel. This includes ActionScript extensions for direct access to native C code, an application launcher, and window management.
The HMI suite uses Adobe Flash Lite combined with OpenGL ES to create a rich, human interface. This graphics framework accommodates rapid and efficient development from prototype to final product. In the image above where we see the typical dashboard dials such as the speedometer and odometer, the HMI needles are hardware accelerated using OpenGL ES while the rest of the display is made using Flash Lite. This allows needles to display smoothly while separating safety critical components such as the speedometer from the graphical roles and responsibilities of the HMI.
With virtually every car manufacturer now using QNX-based systems, it seems as though QNX is here to stay. So the next time you out driving, or in a car showroom, take a second look at the dashboard or entertainment consoles on display. It’s likely that Adobe Flash may be playing a small part in the car technology staring back at you.
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