ATDC company Centrafuse took a page from the Linux book and used an open source model to revolutionize the way auto manufacturers design in-car infotainment systems. Beginning in early 2010 Centrafuse built an open platform that enables quickly customized integration of consumers’ digital devices and communication services into a vehicle’s electronic system. The Centrafuse platform substantially reduces model development time and increases end-user adoption of embedded infotainment systems.
The brilliance of Centrafuse’s approach is the company’s use of an open architecture. Centrafuse took advantage of crowd sourcing to develop a library of more than 50 application plugins in record time. Encouraged by early successes of independent developers, over 10,000 developers have joined the rush to build modules using Centrafuse software tools including users from Intel, Visteon, Carbon Motors and Spyker. In addition to phone, music, and navigation systems, enthusiastic developers have created plug-ins for trip loggers, tire pressure monitors, live traffic information, weather radar feeds, and closest fuel finders.
Centrafuse’s partners have been able to reduce development times by 50% to 90% while building state-of-the-art car infotainment systems. In a time consuming process, car companies often build a completely new infotainment system for each car model. Centrafuse plugin modules greatly simplify this process of integrating user applications into one slick touch-friendly, voice-controlled user interface. Once a core system has been customized to the customer’s requirements using the Centrafuse Integration Framework, manufacturers can quickly and cheaply tweak the system for use in multiple car models.
Recently, Centrafuse worked with Visteon to deploy infotainment interfaces into the Visteon C-Beyond concept vehicle that began touring the world in May 2010. The user interface in the concept car allows the driver to simultaneously control six information and entertainment systems all from one display using voice recognition, touch pad, or button/knob inputs. AMD has created a similar interface using the Centrafuse platform to demonstrate their powerful new FUSION CPU/GPU chips.
In addition to a ground-breaking model, Centrafuse’s success is driven by a team of industry veterans and investors. Don Courvisier, former Global Vice President and General Manager at Sony Electronics’ Automotive Entertainment Solutions Division, serves on the advisory board along with investor legends Bill Henagan, Sig Mosley, and Mike Eckert. Jim Mazurek, Centrafuse’s Vice President of Business Development, cut his teeth building the early Ford infotainment systems.
Centrafuse’s all-star collection of industry leaders and an innovative business model brings tremendous value to car manufacturers who win over car buyers with a hassle-free way to integrate many devices and services into the driving experience. Centrafuse has quickly built a strong reputation by taking an unconventional approach to an intractable problem in an underserved market segment, proving that business model creativity wins the day for startups.