The W3C Automotive Business Group has just completed his second face-to-face meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, May 29 2013. This meeting was a great success, with active discussion from over 30 participants related to the automotive industry in one way or another—automakers, tier one suppliers, hardware and software suppliers, telecom carriers, academia, government and the W3C organization itself. We all gathered to discuss how to move forward standardization of automotive-specific uses of HTML5. Much helpful guidance was provided from the co-chair of the W3C’s Web & TV Interest Group, by discussing how sometime similar issues that our automotive team raised were resolved in the TV group.
The day was jam packed with presentations. KDDI, Access, Obigo, and Intel presented on various use cases in the automotive space that used HTML5. There are currently four proposals for standardizing HTML5-based vehicle APIs: from Tizen, Webinos, GENIVI and QNX (as yet unpublished). There were presentations made by GENIVI (represented by LGE), Tizen (represented by Intel), and QNX on the findings on how those various proposals differed and how they could be made to work together.
KDDI spoke about how head unit capabilities could be augmented with mobile phone APIs through HTML5. Access described the work they’re doing integrating HTML5 as a tool in the process for creating automotive engine tone generation systems. Obigo showed a short video on how navigation systems can be enabled by mobile phones with web servers. Intel discussed the types of advanced features that can be enabled by navigation systems that are web server savvy.
At the last face to face meeting in Barcelona, it had been discussed to start with OBD-II being the least common denominator of vehicle functions, as every vehicle supported it. LGE showed that the intersection of OBD-II data and what was supported through GENIVI, Tizen, and Webinos APIs was very small; the functionality represented in the existing APIs is not captured in OBD-II. However there was still support for integrating OBD-II APIs so that diagnostic applications could be supported. QNX described findings that lead to ensuring HTML5 specifications would be able to support mobile developers not just automotive, and that they should support applications and not just built-in HMIs. Part of this was ensuring synchronization with Apache Cordova.
It was generally agreed by the presenters that although the four proposals cover much of the same ground, there are a lot of specific differences that would need to be rectified. It was discussed that the best strategy would be to create a superset of the four proposals, taking the best from all, to which there did not seem to be any objection. LGE and QNX took the action to begin the process of merging the four contributions for approval by the group. Intel has volunteered as the specification editor, and has creating the initial skeleton for the specification.
A presentation from ISO about how synchronization of ISO and W3C Automotive Business Group standardization efforts would be beneficial for both parties was the last of the day’s presentations.
There were suggestions from a number of parties about areas beyond vehicle data APIS (the group’s original charter) that will also need addressing, like navigation, speech, multimedia, and even ADAS APIs. It seems there is a high degree of interest in broadening support for HTML5 applications in many aspects of the vehicle, and collection of the related use cases is encouraged through a mailing list discussion. Overall, it was a productive day full of constructive dialog and collaborative efforts to ensure a rich future for HTML5 in the car. For future efforts, the group will be hosting a monthly conference call. And we’re looking to schedule another face to face—possibly at ITS in Tokyo or at the W3C Technical Plenary session in November in Shenzhen, China (near Hong Kong).
The W3C Automotive Business Group would like to thank the Linux Foundation and Intel for picking up the tab for the meeting room, audio/visual equipment and lunch.