First in the automotive industry: Saab IQon – infotainment system through open innovation

• Pioneering platform for car communication based on the AndroidTM operating system
• Works as a smart mobile phone – individual customization possible throughout the car’s entire life cycle by downloading applications
• Based on open innovation with third-party vendors developing services and applications
• Test fleet with a beta version of IQon already in traffic

Troll hood: Saab Automobile redraws the map for infotainment systems in the automotive industry by inviting external partners to open innovation in the development of the new infotainment concept Saab IQon, based on Google’s operating system AndroidTM.

Saab IQon is a completely new way of using infotainment in the car, combining the best of the mobile phone industry with Saab’s car knowledge and willingness to innovate to create an infotainment system for the next generation of cars from Saab.

Customers will be able to download a variety of applications, network services and multimedia features through a Saab IQon store. Saab will provide external software developers with a vehicle-based programming interface (API, Application Programming Interface) that provides access to more than 500 signals from various sensors in the car. These provide information on, for example, speed, position and direction of travel, driver’s workload, cornering speed, steering wheel, engine speed and torque, inner and outer temperature, air pressure and the position of the sun.

  • With Saab IQon there are no limits to the opportunities for innovation. We will invite Android’s entire global “community” of software developers to share their imagination and ingenuity, says Johan Formgren, Saab’s aftermarket manager and commercial project manager for IQon.

Saab is first in the automotive industry with this open development strategy, which is a faster, more efficient and more flexible alternative than the conventional, internal development of car infotainment services.

  • Today’s customers want to be as well connected in the car as they are otherwise. IQon will give them the same fast and easy connection they have in their smart phones – and also offer new vehicle-specific applications and services, Formgren continues.

IQon provides an embedded computer platform in the car that automatically connects to the grid when the ignition is turned on. An 8-inch touchscreen provides access to all services, including streamed music and entertainment, online navigation and stored music.

Saab’s open innovation strategy gives programmers around the world the opportunity to work with all types of vehicle communications – infotainment, telematics, system control and diagnostics. This opens new opportunities for customers to be able to make personal choices of services in the car. Specific programs for different countries can also be offered.

  • Our open strategy, based on development in Android, means that the various infotainment services will continuously evolve during the life cycle of a car, as opposed to today’s system that is defined a few years before a car starts selling and then is locked, Formgren adds.

To ensure that driving safety and quality requirements are met, software from software developers and application vendors must be evaluated and approved by Saab before customers can access them online at the Saab IQon store.

IQon also provides a platform for wireless communication to and from the car, for example with Saab dealers for telemetry to upload vehicle data, diagnose, order service time or even install certain accessories in the car.

The IQon system is being shown for the first time in the concept car Saab PhoeniX at the Geneva car show in 2011. A beta version of IQon is already being tested in a test car fleet at company car drivers at Saab.