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Qt Group and LG Electronics Team Up to Revolutionize In-Car Entertainment

When I hear the word "infotainment," I automatically think of TV shows like "Animal Planet" or "The Daily Show." But it's also a term of art in the auto industry referring to in-car systems that combine entertainment, such as radio and music, with driving information, such as navigation. Modern in-vehicle infotainment systems connect with smart automotive technologies, such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology, which use sensors, cameras, and wireless connectivity to allow cars to connect to and communicate with their drivers and surroundings.

The entire automotive industry is developing technologies to enable better connectivity solutions, improve vehicle safety, and enhance the "in-vehicle user-experience," so the announcement that Qt Group and LG Electronics (LG) are collaborating to embed the Qt software framework within LG’s webOS-based in-vehicle entertainment platform, ACP, was not surprising. This partnership aims to equip automotive OEM developers and designers with the tools needed to create cutting-edge, immersive content-streaming services for vehicles.

This new initiative leverages Qt’s existing support for LG’s highly customizable, open-source webOS, which has been a staple in consumer electronics like smart TVs, signage, smart monitors, and home appliances. Historically, LG has utilized the Qt framework to develop user-friendly interfaces and intuitive user experiences. Now, the focus shifts to LG’s ACP, a platform specifically designed for enhancing the in-car content-streaming experience.

The collaboration with Qt is set to play a pivotal role in the continued evolution of this automotive content platform as it is integrated into more brands’ infotainment systems. Qt is a cross-platform application development framework for desktop, embedded and mobile. Its robust out-of-the-box features accelerate development processes, offering faster boot times, enhanced performance, and efficient memory usage, thus ensuring reliable and powerful capabilities.

"The development of advanced software is crucial for enhancing in-vehicle experiences, and the partnership between LG and Qt will increase our capabilities in this all-important area of mobility innovation," said Sang-yong Lee, senior VP of R&D at LG, in a statement. "LG will continue to collaborate with innovative partners like Qt to create immersive in-cabin experiences that meet the diverse demands of automakers and their customers."

This announcement coincides with new market research projections, predicting that the global infotainment market will reach USD 35.4 billion by 2030. More broadly, software-defined vehicles are expected to generate more than $650 billion in value for the auto industry by the same year. To support this growth, Qt has recently expanded access to its design and development tools for automotive brands such as General Motors and Mercedes-Benz. Earlier in 2024, Qt’s human-machine interface development platform was also added to the AWS Marketplace.

"LG has been a trusted Qt partner and leader in infotainment innovation for years, so we’re excited to help them enhance immersive in-car experiences," said Juha Varelius, CEO of Qt Group. "There’s a big ecosystem of developers making web-based applications for cars, but with Qt integrated into LG’s ACP powered by webOS, they can more easily build and run these applications natively within the OS. Most automotive players already have Qt-based assets in their software, and this partnership marks another significant milestone for us in the industry."

Helsinki-based Qt Group’s suite of tools for designing, developing, and ensuring product quality aims to foster closer alignment between developers and designers. These tools were created to streamline workflows, enabling concurrent work within the same framework, and are particularly suited for cross-platform development, especially for low-powered and embedded devices.

This partnership between Qt and LG represents a significant step forward in the infotainment space, promising to deliver more innovative and engaging experiences for drivers and passengers alike. But the real message is that developers will have to tools they need to leverage their skillsets as demand increases for so-called modern in-car experiences.

Posted by John K. Waters on June 26, 2024