MotorWeek Pulls into Intel, Fills up on Atom

PBS-TV’s MotorWeek visited Intel headquarters recently. Steven Chupnick wanted to learn how the tiny, mighty Intel Atom processor can help automakers stay in step with consumer trends. He met with Staci Palmer, director of Intel’s In-Vehicle Infotainment, Embedded and Communications Group, who talked about how computer technology can connect autos to the Internet to bring information, entertainment and even maintenance services anywhere the auto goes.

Here’s a collection of photos that I used to create a quick video and photo slideshow of Steve shooting around the Intel Headquarters.

During the recent Intel Developer Forum, Intel CEO Paul Otellini showed that the Atom processor is driving advanced technology into new areas from hospital patient monitoring to avionics applications to audio systems, including Harman International Industries, the provider of a wide range of audio and infotainment products for vehicles.

Harman International recently announced new in-car devices based on the Atom core that will enable full Internet access, 3-D navigation, brilliant graphics and high-speed wireless connectivity.

In Otellini’s IDF keynote presentation, he pointed to a chart showing how fast in-vehicle infotainment systems are growing – a 17 percent range even during a time of depressed automotive sales. He pointed out that many of the automotive manufacturers and the suppliers to that industry have come together on is a new alliance called GENIVI, which is focused on creating interoperable standards for in-vehicle infotainment across the automotive industry.

Paul revealed that Intel with working with Harman to put Atom-based systems into BMW and Daimler. He said that Daimler will put it into their S-Class and C-Class series starting around 2012, and BMW is developing a cross-platform, which means it goes across all their models, as an option for 2012 and beyond.

I’ve heard talk and seen demostrations about embedding Internet technologies in cars since I joined Intel in 2000. I even got to work with Mad Mike from the then-MTV show “Pimp My Ride” in 2005 when we built an Intel Centrino mobile technology computer system into a Chrysler 300C. But what we learned at IDF in September was that we’re seeing momentum behind building standards-based technology that can — well, hopefully — someday become standard in new cars.

I’ll keep watching this and learning more about progress as the auto industry buckles up and gets back into shape after a very difficult time in 2009. Meantime, here are some Intel resources:

- Intel’s In-Vehicle Infotainment Web page here

- Intel’s In-Vehicle Infotainment related stories being collected on Delicious

- The Intel Embedded Group’s quest to put the Internet inside 15 Million intelligent, connected devices

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