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B'lore evolving gen-next in-car audio systems

Aravind Gowda  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

Bangalore, home to top developing cutting edge technologies, is making its mark in yet another high tech arena "" in car entertainment solutions.
The in-car entertainment solutions being developed are not at the equipment level, but at a finer level. An i-pod that can interface with the car audio and a music system that can play songs through voice command are just some of the products being developed at the chip level in the city by global corporations.
Semiconductor firms like Texas Instruments (TI), and are working on various in-car entertainment devices at their design centres in Bangalore.
recently started a special group to focus on in-car entertainment devices in Bangalore.
"At present, 25 people are working in this group. We are engaged in end-to-end product design and development in association with various brands. We expect the products to hit the markets, including India, in the coming years," said India MD
At present, the hi-tech in-car entertainment devices are being supplied to luxury cars worldwide. Mehtani expects these products to be available to the mid range cars shortly.
"The car as a unit is undergoing digitalisation. A lot of functions and processes will be transferred from the mechanical level to the digital level. Car audio products are also following the trend. Music is also turning digital. The process has commenced in the Indian automotive industry too. We are working on audio products for all three categories "" luxury, mid-range and low-end cars," he pointed out.
The Digital Audio group at NXP India is working on two technologies "" memory card readers and Bluetooth. The card readers will be able to read any type of audio file (from mobile handsets to i-pods) and transfer the data to the car audio system. Similarly, Bluetooth is being employed for music file transfer between two players.
"All the products featuring these technologies could hit the market in the next three years. It depends on how quickly the original equipment manufacturers bring the products to the market," Mehtani said.
TI has a strong portfolio of products across analog, microcontroller and digital signal processing (DSP) technologies, that cater to the mid to high-end automotive market.
According to TI representatives, the company's microcontroller unit products offers flexibility to design across multiple applications.
It also offers products based on DaVinci technology to address areas like infotainment (multi-channel audio, CD, DVD applications ) as well as advanced vision-based applications such as blind spot detection, lane departure warning and parking assistance.
"These products offer differentiated capability in terms of audio ô video processing and help reduce system cost through peripheral integration. For high-performance motor control applications such as Electrical Power Steering (EPS), TI offers the C2x family of products. 'Ankoor' the first DSP designed in India was part of this family," said Praveen Ganapathy, Director "" Business Development, consumer & automotive, Texas Instruments India.
has already released various in-car entertainment solutions, which were partly designed in Bangalore. Its multi-core application processors with accelerators provide audio, video and imaging quality in car multimedia applications.
"We have also developed another solution "" Nomadik "" a System-on-Chip solution, which assists interface for seamless connection to the external components, including car radio, digital-to-analog converters for top-quality audio and video playback and memory cards," a spokesperson said.

First Published: Wed, December 12 2007. 00:00 IST