Intel and Nissan team up to advance IT in cars

Atoms, phones, and many buzzwords all meet in a concept car

Intel - logoIntel and Nissan are teaming up to bring Atom in to car infotainment systems, On top of this, the two companies are going to jointly develop new In Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) technologies.

The biggest news of the bunch is that the new Nissan ZE (Zero Emissions) concept car will be ‘powered’ by an Atom CPU, at least the IVI will. We would say that this is a clear case of Audi envy, but SemiAccurate doesn’t believe this deal is anywhere near as cash flow positive for the auto manufacturer as the Audi one was. In any case, one can assume that Atom based IVIs will trickle down to other Nissan vehicles in the near future.

Why? The two companies are starting to jointly research IVI technologies. This is a good thing, mainly due to the yawning buzzword gap between Intel and ARM based automotive offerings. Luckily, with the backing of Nissan, and if the commercials are to be believed, lots of pretty scientists in white coats writing on glass, this gap will close rapidly. Smartphones, human machine interfaces, clouds, near-field communications, and even mobile to vehicle fusion. This is unlikely to be anything like AMD Fusion though, even if both are the future.

All in all, making cars smarter is not a bad thing, but several things of late have shown how not to use technology in cars. First is the lack of security in all existing implementations of IVI and even basic vehicle systems communication protocols. If you aren’t worried about this, you are not paying attention. Hopefully, Intel and Nissan will make IT security in vehicles a little more comprehensive than DRM infections and press releases.

Best of all, this effort gives me hope for the future, mainly because Microsoft was not mentioned once. Why is this important? Security for one, but Microsoft OSes have a penchant for not working, and Ford had put millions of these vehicular turds on the market. The Sync system the two companies are so proud of is the main reason Ford vehicles overall dropped precipitously in customer satisfaction ratings. Blue screens are no fun, but in a 3000+ pound car moving at 60MPH, this MS ‘feature’ is even less welcome.

With luck, Intel and Nissan will make IVI systems that suck far less than current offerings, it would be hard not to. The hardware has the capabilities to do things right, and without Microsoft, things look bright indeed. The last remaining problem is Intel’s simply broken Atom Linux drivers. Literally years in to the current debacle, Intel shows no sign of releasing working drivers for the chips that purportedly power these IVI systems. Now you see why we keep mocking the company over this?S|A


The following two tabs change content below.

Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate