Munich: BMW is planning to bring automotive technology up to speed and in sync with smartphones, computers and tablets by aiding an EU-funded project called “webinos.” The EU-funded project webinos aims to develop and standardise an open source web-based and browser-based application platform to enable the unrestricted and combined usage of heterogeneous CE devices. 30 players from the automotive, IT and telecommunications industries, as well as several research institutes, have united forces with this common goal.
Cloud computing as a role model
Cloud computing is the driving factor behind the webinos project. By creating purpose-designed web browser add-ons and defining suitable communication standards, webinos demonstrates how the browser can increasingly evolve into a shared web application platform. The research work is focusing on the development of both communication mechanisms between the devices as well as the necessary browser interfaces for web applications.
The webinos technology
Webinos is based on the concept of “personal zones” to enable secure data exchange. A personal zone includes all of a user’s devices, and centres around a personal zone hub that works like a kind of telephone exchange. The hub recognizes individual devices, the applications installed, and the services they support. Users can configure and adjust personal settings on a secure website. A web browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome can be used to execute webinos-enabled applications.
BMW envisions the automotive version of webinos using a vehicle API that accesses vehicle data, a geolocation API that collects data on speed and GPS location, and the Device Orientation API that gathers data on lateral and linear acceleration. BMW notes that “a wealth of data can be made available with the help of just these three packages” with access to such info as average speed, fuel consumption, headlight and windshield-wiper settings and current gear – data that everyone from paranoid parents to prying insurance companies would love to have. The automaker also points out that sharing data across different devices, including the car, could enable car owners to use webinos-enabled apps to check on a vehicle’s fuel level from their smartphone, access a media library on their home computer or in the cloud or get parking-sensor information to find an open space in a crowded city.