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Everything You Need to Know About In-Vehicle Infotainment Systems
By Anshul Saxena, eInfochips (An Arrow Company)
With the growing demand for luxurious, safe, and smart vehicles, automotive manufacturers are increasingly developing automobiles with integrated infotainment systems –systems that provide a combination of entertainment and information for an enhanced in-vehicle experience. Understand what an in-vehicle infotainment system it and learn about the various features and components that work behind the scenes.

The entire automotive industry is moving towards developing innovative technologies to enable better connectivity solutions, improve vehicle safety, and enhance in-vehicle user-experience. One of the key technologies, which works as a focal point of all the modern automotive systems and integrates their functions to be controlled and monitored from one central unit, is “In-Vehicle Infotainment System”. Modern in-vehicle’s infotainment systems connect with all the smart automotive technologies like ADAS systems, V2X connectivity solutions, telematics devices, smartphones, sensors etc., and integrates them with each other to provide a great driving experience.

What is In-vehicle infotainment?

The IVI can be described as a combination of vehicle systems which are used to deliver entertainment and information to the driver and the passengers through audio/ video interfaces, control elements like touch screen displays, button panel, voice commands, and more. According to Markets and Markets, the in-vehicle infotainment market is estimated to reach USD 30.47 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 11.79%. Research suggests that in-vehicle infotainment market is driven by the increase in vehicle production,technological advancements, telematics regulations, and increasing demand for luxury vehicles.

How does an In-vehicle Infotainment System work?

In-vehicle infotainment works in integration with many other in-vehicle and external systems to deliver entertainment and information to the driver and passengers.

The main components of an in-vehicle infotainment systems are:

Integrated Head-Unit 
In-vehicle infotainment headunit is a touch screen based, tablet-like device, mounted on the vehicle’sdashboard. With user friendly HMI, the head unit acts as a perfectly connectedcontrol center for the infotainment system.

Heads-Up Display 
Automotive heads-up display isan integral part of high-end infotainment systems, which displays the vehicle’s real-time information on the transparent screen integrated with the vehicle’s windshield. Heads-up display helps in reducing the driver’s distraction whiledriving and assists him with key details like speed, navigation maps,electronic digital cluster (information from vehicle’s OBD port-II), climate,multimedia options, etc.

High-end DSPs and GPUs to support multiple displays
New age infotainment systems are powered by powerful automotive processors designed for advanced IVI systems. These automotive processors are capable ofdisplaying content on multiple displays (e.g. Head-up Display or Windshield,Connected smartphones, Head Unit, and more) and delivers an enhanced in-vehicle experience to drivers and passengers.

Operating Systems
In vehicle infotainment systems require operating systems that are capable of supporting connectivity,convenience functions, and downloadable software applications to integrate new functions in the system. Operating systems like Android, Linux, QNX, Windows are leading the infotainment segment.

CAN,LVDS and other network protocol support (as per the requirement)
The electronic hardware components in infotainment systems are interconnected with certain standardized communication protocols such as CAN (Controller AreaNetwork).  CAN or any other network protocol support allows microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other in applications without the host computer.

Connectivity Modules
Infotainment systems encompass GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth modules to provide connectivity with external networks and devices. These modules help in establishing services like navigation,internet connectivity and smartphone integration with the infotainment system.

Automotive Sensors Integration
Proximity sensors, gesturerecognition sensors for detecting ambient light, camera sensors and many otherin-vehicle sensors integrate with infotainment systems to providesafety-related information to the driver and passengers.

Digital Instrument Cluster
Hi-tech infotainment systems have transformed the automotive cockpit designs from static displays of the in-vehicle instruments to digital instrument clusters. Digital instrument clusters include digital displays of the traditional analog gauges in the vehicle like speedometer, RPM, odometer, etc.

Article reproduced with kind consent of the author.