Intel gets granular on automotive connectivity

March 01, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Microprocessor giant Intel has discovered the automotive infotainment market: The company has introduced several research initiatives aiming at applications associated to networked vehicles. And it launched a research center based in Karlsruhe (Germany) dedicated to in-vehicle infotainment and telematics applications.

None other than Intel President Paul Otellini inaugurated the Automotive Innovation and Product Development Center in Karlsruhe which will serve as the global competence and research resource for Intel. Hitherto, the field of automotive electronics had been almost completely unattended by the PC processor heavyweight. Against the background of strong growth rates for automotive connectivity platforms and applications, Otellini apparently changed his mind. "By launching this new research and development center, we deepen our understanding for the ways people interact with their cars and start to improve the drivers experience through our innovation", the Intel top executive said.

The Karlsruhe facilities are part of Intel's Automotive Solutions Division, a part of the Intel Architecture Group. It also is part of Intel's European R&D organization Intel Labs Europe (ILE), which currently embraces 27 institutes.

At the same time, Intel launched an investment fund dedicated to automotive-related innovation. The Intel Capital Connected Car Fund will focus on developments in the field of seamless connectivity between vehicle and infotainment devices as well as innovative applications and services for and in cars. Over the five years ahead, the company plans to invest $100 million into companies involved in hardware and software developments as well as services associated to this topic and driving development based in Intel technology. In addition, Otellini announced a program aiming at fostering automotive-related academic research. This program also is intended to intensify the collaboration between Intel, scientific organizations and the automotive industry. This research program will be controlled by the new Karlsruhe-based entity.

At the Karlsruhe lab, one of the future topics will be driver's behavior. The insight gathered will be used to develop technological solutions for vehicles and traffic infrastructure. The goal is to make driving more comfortable, intuitive and safe. Examples are new ways of internet usage, sensors and context sensitive techniques to determine how complex interactions while driving a car can be reduced.