HTML5, Qt Vie for Connected Car App Dominance

A new study from Frost & Sullivan finds that both HTML5 and Qt will be used for building in-vehicle infotainment solutions in connected cars.

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connected car

HTML5 and Qt will both be key technologies used to develop connected systems within the vehicle, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan study.

In the study, Frost & Sullivan analyzes the pros and cons for each development environment along with key in-vehicle use cases. Both solutions provide unique tools for developers, and both solutions are widely adopted in today's vehicles.

The connected car is becoming increasingly complex. Drivers are beginning to expect the same type of connectivity in their vehicles as they receive with their smartphones, according to the study. Automakers are faced with creating a safe and secure system while ensuring drivers have rich graphics and intuitive usability.

Qt is an open-source application framework that can be used to build advanced applications and user interfaces (UIs). It was created by the Qt Company (initially Trolltech) and written in C++. It was originally a toolkit for building graphical user interfaces, but morphed into a cross-platform framework for building sophisticated systems. It is used in a variety of applications, with the automotive industry as a key user. The Qt Modeling Language (QML) is a JavaScript-based declarative language, which is part of Qt Quick—a toolset for building dynamic UIs. Meanwhile, HTML5 is a markup language used for structuring and presenting content on the Web.

One key finding of the Frost & Sullivan study is that both solutions, HTML5 and Qt, are open source; thus, automakers will benefit from cheaper development costs, faster time to market for vehicles, and will have final control over the look and feel that is critical for automakers.

In addition, HTML5 offers an open platform that claims to be brand-agnostic. However, challenges will arise, such as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) oversight for a vehicle's system development or the vast amount of signals that are partitioned by the infotainment unit to lessen network bandwidth.

Also, for an infotainment system platform, HTML5 has all the elements to develop a sustainable and relevant system, the study showed. However, competition will be stiff from alternative solutions, such as Qt, given its quick launch time and similar functionality.

Moreover, the Frost & Sullivan study noted that given the number of key automakers adopting or showing interest in HTML5, the company expects a higher percentage of vehicles will be equipped with HTML5 than will be equipped with an HTML5 infotainment system.

In October, The Qt Company, together with its partners KDAB and Pelagicore announced the Qt Automotive Suite, a product to support common in-vehicle-infotainment (IVI) system development needs of automotive OEMs and tier-one automotive suppliers.

The Qt Automotive Suite provides automotive software solution providers with a ready-made offering. The solution is built on the Qt toolkit, which encompasses libraries, tools, hardware adaptation and pre-built components. Qt is already a tried-and-tested mature tool within the industry powering the IVI systems of millions of cars on the road today. This new automotive development product will make it even easier and faster for OEMs and tier-one suppliers to go to market.

"When building IVI systems, we see that many automotive manufacturers and providers are facing similar challenges with managing their technical solutions," Petteri Holländer, head of product management for the Qt Company, said in a statement. "The Qt Automotive Suite provides readily available components promising productivity and a high level of quality through world-class tools. This solution promises to make automotive development effortless where the UX and hardware and operating system flexibility is at the core, in turn allowing OEMs and Tier Ones to concentrate on adding end-user value instead of tackling technical details."

The Qt Company, Pelagicore and KDAB have experience in delivering automotive UI software to more than 20 automotive customers, and now they have joined their efforts in taking the Qt technology to the next level in the industry. Together, the three companies have created technology that elevates Qt from being a UI and application framework to being a full-fledged automotive UI software platform.