Automotive: Native applications vs Web applications

  Apr 19, 2016 12:51:36 AM

There seems to be a trend of automotive products such as IVI Systems and Instrument Cluster among others that are using web based applications for all purposes such as media playback, vehicle information, etc.

The other option for these applications is native application. So the question we must ask: Which one is better - Web based or native?

With Web based applications, car infotainment system, instrument cluster OEMs will be able to reuse applications across all their products. This is very important because OEMs will have products based on multiple operating systems - QNX, ITRON, Android, Linux. OEMs will prefer to reuse from the perspective of cost saving, time-to-market and consistent UX.

Are web technologies ready to cater to automotive needs? Though web technologies are standardized and easily to use, automotive related extensions have to be included and standardized. I have outlined the related features that have to be included in web technology components such as web-kit for automotive platform:

  • Vehicle information such as navigation, speed, gear, head light, parking light, wiper, door-window, tire pressure, seat
  • Detecting parameters to move the system into Driver Distraction Avoidance mode
  • Details related to audio sources such as AUX-IN, BT, USB, CD

The security aspects taken care of in existing technologies/standards have to be evaluated considering the highest safety and security measures that are very critical in automotive.

Of course, native applications/frameworks will enable the custom/native capabilities/effects. It is a tradeoff between consistent UX, reuse of applications and the usage of native capabilities/effects. Looks like, OEMs prefer the former because cost and time-to-market is important since automotive productization itself is a long process.

Author: Krishna Kishore, Senior Architect

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