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A Fuller and Safer Use of Phone Apps at the Wheel

08 May 2012

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STMicroelectronics has integrated remote-control technology from RealVNC, the original inventor and provider of VNC, onto ST's automotive-grade infotainment application processors. According to ST, the integration will simplify and accelerate the roll out of mobile-to-vehicle connectivity solutions, supporting the seamless and safe interplay of phones, apps and cars.

Smartphone-centric in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems are the next step in mobile convenience. They allow the car to access the contents of the portable device and display the data and apps on the in-dash head unit. For example, drivers can pipe Google Maps or smartphone navigation apps onto the car's display screen and control the applications from there. Similarly, they can use the larger display to manage what they are listening to without fumbling with their mobile device while driving. Using industry-standard interface technologies like VNC ensures that any phone or other hardware will work with any vehicle and drivers stay more focused on the road.

ST's infotainment application processors with embedded GPS�target in-car and portable navigation systems. According to the company, the processors offer high integration and high-performance features while meeting the constraints of cost-sensitive applications and stringent automotive quality and safety requirements. Already being used in the development of head-unit products, the ST processors now add the benefits from VNC Automotive built in.

Says ST: when integrated into the application processor, VNC Automotive enables automatic detection, screen replication and control of virtually any mobile device from a vehicle's touch-screen or fixed-input controls. These controls may include steering-wheel switches and head-unit buttons. With RealVNC's remote-control capabilities pre-integrated onto ST's processors, head-unit and infotainment system, manufacturers can fast-track time-to-market for smartphone-centric in-vehicle infotainment systems.

Furthermore, ST's infotainment application processors are capable of providing a vehicle-occupant's smartphone with GNSS positioning signals from the in-dash system, enabling more accurate navigation capabilities and extending phone-battery life.

"Seamless interaction between the phone and the car reduces driver distraction and increases cruising convenience," says STMicroelectronics Product Manager for Navigation & Infotainment Fabrice Guerrier. "(This makes) available the most relevant applications for in-vehicle use, including calling, navigation, and listening to music, through the in-car display," he adds. Also, "adding RealVNC's Automotive interface to ST's automotive application processors increases the choice for car infotainment makers and shortcuts the path to building high-performance and flexible smartphone-centric in-vehicle systems."

Says Tom Blackie, Vice President Mobile, RealVNC: "VNC Automotive offers partners (head-unit and IVI manufacturers) the most mature, flexible and high-performing connectivity solution on the market today." VNC Automotive provides full cross-platform remote access and control of mobile devices from IVI systems. The technology also enables many additional features, greater performance and production-ready availability on a wide range of mobile handsets.

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