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Atom auto-infotainment push

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Intel and a group of leading automotive-industry manufacturers have formed a non-profit group to develop and promote an open-source reference platform for In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems.

When Intel announced earlier this week that it was developing a set of Atom processors specifically for the automotive market, it did not name specific car or parts manufacturers who had committed to using those chips. Today's announcement partially answers the questions this omission raised.

The founding members of the group, called the GENIVI Alliance, include Intel, auto manufacturers BMW Group, PSA Peugeot Citroen, and (what's left of) General Motors; automotive parts and systems suppliers Delphi, Visteon, and Magneti Marelli (a division of the Fiat Group); and device-controller software company Wind River.

IVI is a catch-all term that refers to digital in-car systems that can provide navigation, internet access, back-seat video, audio, telephony, and other information and entertainment services.

Significantly, in its inaugural press release (PDF), the GENIVI Alliance specifically states that the IVI reference platform will be built around an Intel Atom processor running Wind River Linux. Development of the platform is already underway, with a launch of the "first technical deliverable" scheduled for this summer.

During a time when the worldwide automotive industry is contracting, it makes sense for industry members to gather together to create an open-source platform rather than individually design and build proprietary systems. According to GENIVI spokesperson Graham Smethurst, who is also the group general manager of BMW's Infotainment and Communication Systems, "GENIVI will challenge the traditional approach of proprietary solutions and spawn a level of creativity not yet seen in this segment."

And, Intel hopes, the new group will provide a ready market for the company's latest Atom processors. ®

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