New Release of QNX Middleware Enhances Performance of Automotive Handsfree Systems

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News at a Glance...

  • Award-winning middleware suite dramatically improves clarity and user experience of handsfree calls.
  • New features include wideband support, dynamic equalization, electrical noise suppression, improved echo cancellation, and enhanced remote configuration and testing.
  • QNX has been raising the bar for in-car speech communications by actively participating in ITU-T standardization activities.
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    OTTAWA, March 24, 2009 — QNX Software Systems, the global leader in operating systems and middleware for the in-car telematics and infotainment market, today announced a new release of its award-winning QNX® Aviage® Acoustic Processing Suite, a software product that reduces the cost and improves the quality of automotive handsfree systems.

    Built on proven technology deployed in more than 60 vehicle platforms from Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Fiat, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and other automakers, the QNX Aviage Acoustic Processing Suite replaces dedicated voice-processing hardware with a small, efficient software solution. The kit uses patented algorithms to extract the human voice from noisy car interiors and to eliminate echoes, thereby improving the clarity and user experience of handsfree phone conversations.

    The new release of the QNX Aviage Acoustic Processing Suite introduces several new features, including:

    • Wideband support — Wideband allows for a fundamentally more pleasing handsfree experience, providing audio with much greater clarity and realism than conventional narrowband technology. Wideband is currently being rolled out across Europe, where it has been shown to significantly increase user satisfaction.
    • Dynamic equalization — Making speech sound full and natural in low-noise conditions can often have adverse effects when noise levels rise. Thus, the suite now allows automakers to set two equalization curves: one optimized for low noise, the other optimized for high noise. The suite’s processing engine will then dynamically blend the equalization curve between the two settings as cabin noise rises and falls.
    • Receive electrical noise suppression — In some vehicles, the downlink or far-side speaker’s voice must be played very loud to overcome high cabin noise. In such cases, the amplifier or network access device can emit an audible and often irritating electrical noise. The suite identifies this low-level noise and removes it, resulting in speech with high dynamic range.
    • Improved echo cancellation — Most handsfree solutions switch to a half-duplex state whenever echo exceeds the level of the local talker. As a result, the local talker is muted whenever the far-side talker is speaking. The suite has always enabled full-duplex speech in this scenario, but now pushes the limits even further, improving the naturalness of the conversation when both sides are talking at the same time and the echo level is extreme.
    • Enhanced remote configuration and testing tool — This tool now provides developers with better troubleshooting and test case reproduction, allowing them to record and inject audio from all digital audio tap points as well as analyze the system’s audio for coherence and total harmonic distortion.

    Highly customizable, the QNX Aviage Acoustic Processing Suite offers a modular library of software algorithms for system designers. This modular architecture, along with support for multiple processors and DSPs, allows system designers to easily update, modify and reuse the kit across multiple product lines. As a result, customers can maximize investments in development and reduce production costs.

    QNX Software Systems has been raising the bar for high-quality in-car speech communications by actively participating in ITU-T standardization activities with several automakers, automotive suppliers, service providers, test equipment manufacturers, and academia. The ITU-T (Telecommunication Standardization Sector) coordinates standards for telecommunications on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

    “The QNX Aviage Acoustic Processing Suite serves as the reference for several automotive OEMs, against which all other solutions are measured,” said Andrew Poliak, worldwide automotive sales director at QNX Software Systems. “The suite not only enhances the clarity, quality, and intelligibility of the handsfree conversations, but also lowers the production cost of handsfree communication systems, making them affordable for a wider variety of vehicles, including economy models.”

    In October, the QNX Aviage won the 2008 Elektra Award for embedded system product of the year. Organized by Electronics Weekly, the annual Elektra awards recognize excellence and innovation in the electronics industry.

    The QNX Aviage Acoustic Processing Suite is a planned component of the QNX CAR initiative, which provides automotive OEMs and tier one suppliers with a pre-integrated set of technologies for rapid prototyping and production.

    Availability and hardware support
    The QNX Aviage Acoustic Processing Suite 1.3 is available now. The suite runs on a variety of 32-bit CPUs and DSPs, including ARM9/11/Cortex, SH-2/4+, Power Architecture, i.MX3x, x86, and TI C64x DSPs. The suite supports multiple operating systems, including the QNX Neutrino® RTOS, µITRON, Linux, and WinCE.

    About QNX Software Systems
    QNX Software Systems, a Harman International company (NYSE: HAR), is the industry leader in realtime, embedded OS technology. The component-based architectures of the QNX® Neutrino® RTOS, QNX Momentics® development suite, and QNX Aviage® middleware together provide the industry’s most reliable and scalable framework for building innovative, high-performance embedded systems. Global leaders such as Cisco, Daimler, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and Siemens depend on QNX technology for network routers, medical instruments, vehicle telematics units, security and defense systems, industrial robotics, and other mission- or life-critical applications. Founded in 1980, QNX Software Systems is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and distributes products in over 100 countries worldwide.

    Editorial Contacts

    Paul Leroux
    QNX Software Systems
    +1 613 591-0931
    paull@qnx.com

    QNX, Aviage, Momentics, and Neutrino are trademarks of QNX Software Systems GmbH & Co. KG, registered in certain jurisdictions, and are used under license. All other trademarks and trade names belong to their respective owners.