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Windows Embedded Automotive helps car manufacturers and suppliers connect drivers with a wide range of devices, services and technology. Join the discussion of the latest developments and challenges in the automotive technology space.
Posted By Walter Sullivan
Walter Sullivan, senior project manager for Windows Embedded Automotive
Ten years ago, in April of 2003, a small team from Fiat and Microsoft got together in Redmond, in Microsoft’s Building 32, to talk about a potential collaboration. I was lucky enough to be in this meeting, unsure of whether there was any real opportunity. Through the course of the discussion, we started to realize that Fiat and Microsoft had a very common vision for how mobile devices would be integrated into the driving environment; both companies recognized the growth in personal mobile devices we were about to see. In fact, as we were prototyping our concept, the engineers at Fiat and their Research Center (CRF) were working on a very similar concept, which we saw for the first time later in 2003 as we continued our discussions. We at Microsoft called ours T-Box; Fiat called theirs Convergence. The similarities were uncanny.
Development actually began in early 2004, and we handed off the final production device to Fiat in June of 2005. We developed the hardware and the software from scratch (very little of either prototype was actually used in the production system) in about 16 months. Over the next few months, we continued to build the second version, which added an embedded cellular module, vehicle diagnostics and navigation. The products, of course, were Fiat’s Blue&Me and Blue&Me Nav, which began production in the fall of 2005.
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