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Garmin brings Atari into its car cabin of the future

Garmin is showing off cool interior cabins for future cars, and it has partnered with Atari to bring gaming into vehicles.

The Swiss automotive equipment company showed off the cabin at CES 2023, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas.

Garmin is focused on technologies that unify multiple domains, touchscreens and wireless devices on a single SoC (system on chip). The cabin features four infotainment touchscreens, an instrument cluster, a cabin monitoring system, wireless headphones, wireless gaming controllers, smartphones and numerous entertainment options — all powered by a single Garmin multi-domain computing module.

The demo is meant to addresses several key technical and user experience challenges for next-generation multi-screen systems running on the Android Automotive operating system.

The Atari integration transforms the entire vehicle into an arcade, allowing for family-friendly gaming without a data connection, the company said. David Lowey of Atari said in an email to GamesBeat that the demo used Centipede: Recharged and Kombinera in the prototype.

“We have not ported all of our premium games over to run on their system as of yet, but a large percentage of our portfolio will be available to manufacturers,” Lowey said.

“Garmin’s CES demo highlights technological innovations that advance the capabilities of Android
Automotive OS for delivering a multi-zone personalized experience that consumers are expecting,” said
Matt Munn, Garmin Automotive OEM managing director, in a statement. “There are enormous opportunities to integrate many types of features and technologies into a single, unified system, but our connected in-cabin experience goes beyond system integration with innovative new features and an improved user experience.”

The system is customizable for each passenger and easy to operate, utilizing UWB (Ultra-Wideband communications) positioning technology to automatically connect wireless devices to the appropriate display. A cabin monitoring camera identifies and unlocks each passenger’s personal user interface profile.

That enables occupants to enjoy multiple personalized entertainment options including cloud-based blockbuster console/PC games that can be played over 5G connectivity, on-board games and multiple streaming video platforms — all from some of the most popular names. With the new Cabin App feature, passengers can locate connected devices, control other displays and share video and audio content across multiple passenger zones.

Garmin tapped a number of companies to contribute different pieces of the Unified Cabin Experience.

For the in-cabin sensing capabilities, Garmin relied on Xperi’s DTS AutoSense platform, which uses advanced machine learning and a single camera to enable safety and experience features such as seat occupancy (including body pose), hands-on-wheel, activity and seatbelt detection, driver attention zones, driver distraction or occupant recognition.

With audio streaming, Garmin tapped Xperi’s DTS AutoStage hybrid radio solution, which provides a richer, more immersive radio listening experience. This feature automatically switches between a station’s over-the-air radio signal to its IP stream when traveling in and out of range, as well as providing station metadata, album art and more.

Mapbox enabled Garmin to accelerate the delivery of this demo in a fraction of the time. Mapbox Dash combines the company’s strengths in navigation, search and visualization, including AI and traffic data. This integration provides beautifully rendered and easily customizable interactive maps across all five displays of the system. The Garmin Unified Cabin Experience is also interoperable with other navigation systems.

It also has embedded software from BlackBerry QNX Hypervisor and Neutrino RTOS, which incorporates
BlackBerry security technologies that safeguard users against system malfunctions, malware and cybersecurity breaches. These provide the necessary technology to power the industry’s next generation of products, while also supporting 64-bit ARMv8 computing platforms and Intel x86-64 architecture.

Garmin will also be showing products in production for several of customers including BMW, Toyota, Honda and Ford.

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