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EETE DECEMBER 2012

UNCOMMON MARKET Smartphones move centre stage in cars, even drones By Junko Yoshida With smartphones uBiquitous, what’s the point of de- Personal drones veloping separate Gps, standalone infotainment and telephony Banking on embedded systems that leverage smartphones, systems in a car? a conventional proprietary in-car system parrot is now applying the same concept to consumer devices simply duplicates smartphone hardware and functions. like personal drones, high-end speakers and wireless head- What’s missing, argues henri seydoux, founder of car tele- sets. Behind a set of seemingly random consumer products, phony specialist parrot, is a “universal receiver” that can link seydoux sees a common thread: all gadgets based on Dsp with any mobile phone. parrot, based software should be designed to work with mobile in paris, has developed what seydoux phones. describes as “a counterpart to a smart- those attending the Consumer electronics phone” that enhances voice quality for show may remember parrot’s eye-catching per- hands-free car phones while improving sonal drone flying around the Las Vegas Conven- audio acoustics. a voice recognition fea- tion Center. the drone was seydoux’s way of ture provides access to the smartphone’s demonstrating the link between smartphones and address book. consumer gadgets. (the video below shows how Beyond in-car systems, the company the drone works.) parrot’s ar.Drone 2.0 captures is also targeting smartphone control of photos and video via on-board HD camera offers consumer gadgets. parrot’s android- live recording and streaming via Wi-Fi and can based universal receiver is targeted at even execute 360-degree roll by simply hitting a car makers and the auto aftermarket. button or by tilting a smartphone or tablet. sey- the company claims a sizeable share doux calls parrot’s toy drones “a new frontier for of the German and Japanese car phone video games.” the unit is loaded with electronics markets. ranging from 1-Ghz arm Cortex a8 to 800-mhz video Dsp (tms320DmC64X) and mems sensors Bluetooth technology did not exist Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux flying his to deliver precise control and automatic stabiliza- when parrot was founded in 1994 and personal drone. tion. The AR Drone also is equipped with a QVGA was a decade away from being installed in cars. since then, camera for ground speed measurement and safe landing. in parrot has focused on developing a turnkey car telephony July, parrot acquired senseFly, a switzerland-based drone com- system via its vertical business model that includes everything pany, allowing the French company to enter the ultra-light flying from asiC design to modular hardware units and application drone market for professional applications like mapping. software. parrot’s vertical model is unique, but seydoux has also Wireless speakers, headsets managed to flip the conventional concept for a proprietary in- meanwhile, parrot also has developed a wireless headset car system. rather than designing an integrated infotainment featuring Bluetooth connectivity, active noise cancellation and system that includes a cellular modem, seydoux envisioned near-field communications for Bluetooth pairing. Jawbone an in-car system to “leverage” cell phones rather than mimic sensors allow the headset to be used for wireless conversa- them. “the car industry must embrace all the standard cell- tions. the wireless speakers housed in a daring design are phone industry practices, including architectures and proto- set up to offer immersive sound. The speakers leverage an cols of smartphones, so that they can bring the internet and elaborate system of DSP processing and amplifiers. A 200-MHz smartphones to their cars,” seydoux said in an interview with DSP provides digital filtering and feeds into a pair of amplifiers ee times. “that’s the only way” for the automotive industry to dedicated to each driver. parrot’s asiC used in its car telephony succeed, he argued. system include an arm a9 core with arm’s Dsp functions and a hardwired audio processing block designed for the audio front parrot’s long experien ce in the car telephony market allowed end. the audio front end is three times bigger than the arm- it to gather details on most mobile phones, including their Blue- based block. Why asiCs? seydoux responded: “to do good tooth profiles, how address books are designed and they are acoustic in a car demands a lot of processing power and specif- accessed. the result was a company database of various use ic filtering. You need an ASIC.” Parrot is now targeting markets cases for each mobile phone that is updated with new product beyond the phone and drones. Last year, it acquired DiBcom, a launches. hence, parrot’s database has become a vital tool for French mobile TV chip company. Designing a system that works car makers seeking to install universal receivers. “We can bring well with a smartphone is a priority for parrot’s in-car system, value-added Bluetooth stacks, for example, which would work but the company is willing to add features to regular handsets, with every mobile phone,” claimed seydoux. including mobile TV, said Yannick Levy, a former DiBcom CEO and now executive vice president of parrot’s digital tuner busi- Junko Yoshida is Chief international Correspondent for eetimes ness unit. Its Octopus chip, a programmable digital TV front-end - www.eetimes.com - she can be reached solution initially developed by DiBcom, is making its way inside at junko.yoshida@ubm.com Daimlers and BmWs, said Yannick. 4 Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2012 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE DECEMBER 2012
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