BMW drives Connected Car into the cyberspace

October 11, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In the project webinos, researchers are developing an open-source application platform for apps. The platform will help carmakers to integrate them into one of the most sophisticated mobile devices: The car.

Cloud computing provided the inspiration for the webinos project. The World Wide Web already provides an impressive example of how documents and information can be successfully exchanged across the boundaries between different devices with the help of open source standards. Webinos applies the same approach to applications. By creating purpose-designed web browser add-ons and defining suitable communication standards, webinos demonstrates how the browser can 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.

To enable secure data exchange, webinos relies on the concept of “personal zones”. A personal zone comprises all of a user's devices, and centres on a personal zone hub that works like a kind of telephone exchange. The hub knows what the individual devices are, which applications are installed on which device, and also which services they each support. Users can configure and adapt their personal zone on a special website. Special privacy settings are designed to ensure that applications are only able to make use of enabled data and services.

A web browser can be used to execute webinos-enabled applications. Web applications can access the services within a personal zone by means of a special browser add-on. The new interface builds on the trend first started with HTML5 of using the browser as an application platform.

In the research project webinos, 22 service components have been developed for accessing device functions. These cover both universal functions and the specifics of the smartphone, PC, TV and vehicle devices addressed in webinos. For the in-vehicle integration the Vehicle API (that allows access to the vehicle-specific data), the Geolocation API (that can be used to obtain data on speed and GPS location) and the Device Orientation API (that comprises data on both lateral and linear acceleration) are the most relevant components. The Geolocation API and the