Illustration of Automotive Infotainment System
July 22, 2021

Accelerate Automotive Infotainment Software Development

Version Control

Automotive infotainment systems are only getting better and becoming more connected with the rest of our devices. And as the data and teams needed to develop innovative infotainment software continue to grow, projects will keep getting more complex. That means developers of automotive infotainment systems need software that won’t slow them down.  

Read along or feel free to jump to the section that interests you the most.

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What Is an Infotainment System? 

An infotainment system is an interactive system in a car that delivers information and entertainment, such as music, video, and navigation. It may also be referred to as in-vehicle infotainment or automotive infotainment.

An infotainment system is usually a screen, often a touch screen, typically located on the center dash. Newer infotainment systems may be located on other parts of the dashboard, such as behind the steering wheel, or may even appear as transparent images on the windshield (called a heads-up display). 

What Can an Infotainment System Do? 

The functionality of an infotainment system varies between models. It is usually the interface used to control music, and in relatively new models, it is used to connect (usually via USB or wirelessly) to mobile devices, control certain functions such as A/C, display the backup camera view and navigation, stream video, and more.  

Infotainment systems generally refer to the systems that do not directly affect a vehicle’s operation—though there may be some overlap between them and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (like adaptive cruise control or parking assistance).  

The Future of Automotive Infotainment 

Automotive infotainment systems are improving rapidly. Traditionally the manufacturer produced the whole infotainment system, it was built-in to the car, and they were hard to customize and upgrade.  

Increasingly, infotainment is becoming a platform which integrates seamlessly with mobile devices and mobile apps through appropriate interfaces. An example is supporting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and similar apps. This adds huge flexibility and means upgrades can typically be handled by upgrading the apps. 

It won’t be long before advanced features like augmented reality maps hit the market. And game engines are already being used to create advanced systems like the one in the GMC Hummer EV.

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What Is Next for Automotive Infotainment Software Developers? 

The rapid acceleration of the infotainment market means a couple of things for infotainment software developers. They need to:

  1. Be prepared for projects to get more complex, with a lot more assets and bigger teams to manage.  
  2. Ensure their products are user-friendly and bug-free. While some high-end cars support OTA (over-the-air) software updates of the base infotainment system/platform, most still do not, and the average consumer will not want to go through the hassle of updating theirs regularly. 

Challenges in Automotive Infotainment Development 

Developing infotainment systems that will succeed in an industry that is rapidly changing involves several challenges: 

Security in Infotainment Development 

Proprietary design assets are extremely valuable, so it’s important to use tools and practices that keep them safe. Utilizing multifactor authentication (MFA) throughout development is one essential way to do this. Ensuring the right people have access only to the data they need is also important.  

Scalability in Infotainment Development 

Infotainment development is only going to keep getting more complex. As teams handle more and larger files and juggle multiple projects, they can begin to slow down if they don’t have tools that can scale with them. 

Managing Multiple Contributions in Infotainment Development 

An infotainment dev team may have many employees, or employees living around the globe. Dev teams need systems in place that allow them to manage multiple contributions without compromising the product. 

Infotainment Software — What You Need to Solve Challenges 

Automotive infotainment developers need a tool stack that supports continuous change and increasing complexity of projects.  

One fundamental tool is version control, which ensures proper coordination and management of releases with teams of developers, potentially around the globe.  Yours should be designed around security, scalability, and speed.  

Accelerate Development with Helix Core 

Helix Core, industry-leading version control from Perforce, is built to handle some of the major challenges developers face. It allows teams to: 

  • Manage 10s of thousands of developers and creatives. 
  • Manage 10s of millions of daily transactions and 100s of terabytes of data.  
  • Secure assets in the cloud or on-premises. 
  • Implement MFA throughout development and control access down to a single file. 
  • Deliver files to remote teammates fast thanks to Perforce Federated Architecture
  • Keep using their existing toolset. 
  • Rely on a single source of truth – so up-to-date information is easily accessible to all team members. 

To remain competitive, automotive infotainment developers must ensure their most foundational tools are not slowing them down.