7/12/2004 - Pixilated, multifunction graphics displays have become a necessary element of the automotive Man-Machine Interface (MMI). From instrument clusters to center stacks to heads-up displays, it is essential to develop appropriate, easy-to-use interfaces for the driver. Audi has selected Altia’s graphical user interface (GUI) development tools to help build, test and simulate these MMIs. During the A8 instrument cluster development, Altia Design was used to create an “Executable Specification Model” that was used to test usability and debug control software. For future projects, it is the intention to use this model to automatically generate graphics code to be embedded in the car. The use of Altia to this point has already increased productivity and quality.
Audi chose Altia because it met two important decision criteria – Altia’s capacity to focus its graphics development on the embedded environment and its ability move the model from specification to test.
For the A8 prototype, Altia was used for modeling the graphics while Ilogix® Rhapsody® was used for functional behavior. A fundamental and key criterion for choosing a tool was the ability to automatically generate target code from the model. Altia DeepScreen fulfills this requirement because it can easily generate target specific graphics code. For example, a Windows CE target could be used for a quick demonstration prototype, while another commercial or custom RTOS or scheduler could be used for the final target.
The use of Altia also improved the relationship between Audi and their suppliers. For the suppliers, the Altia representation of requirements was free of contradictions and extremely helpful due to the executable and visual nature of the model. The possibility of bringing concepts to life and allowing decision-makers and engineers to better evaluate them, even before suppliers have written any code, is now a key advantage for Audi.
The experience has been very positive and the combined use of new concepts with the Altia and Rhapsody tools promises a broad range of future benefits. Audi plans to use this tool combination on upcoming A6 programs.
In 1991, four Hewlett Packard embedded systems developers discovered a need for graphics tools to prototype instrumentation front panels. These engineers spun-off and founded Altia to develop products to meet this need.
Altia's mission is to simplify the process for developing embedded systems graphics by providing a cohesive set of graphics development tools that can be used from concept to final code. This simplification minimizes the amount of graphics that are thrown away as developers move through the cycles in the development process. With Altia's tools, embedded programmers can build graphics much faster and cheaper and ultimately raise the quality of the embedded user interface. More than 2,000 licenses of the company's flagship product, Altia Design, have been sold worldwide.
Altia, Inc. is located at 5030 Corporate Plaza Drive, Colorado Springs, CO, 80919. Tel: 719-598-4299, Fax: 719-598-4392, Web: www.altia.com.
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