A Guided Tour of the HMI

The QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment 2.1 delivers mobile apps to the automobile with a powerful yet simple user experience.

The platform contains many apps that provide programming references to help you write new apps for your infotainment system. Some of these reference apps contain functional controls for vehicle settings, which automotive system integrators can use in their own software.

The platform includes two categories of applications:

Core applications
Accessible from the taskbar displayed along the bottom of the HMI, these applications provide controls to configure general subsystems such as the media player or climate controller. The core applications ensure that a set of standard features is available on all cars.
Add-on applications
Accessible through the Apps Section screen, these applications extend the capabilities of the platform by accessing topical information such as weather reports, social media feeds, or media repository sites. These apps can be downloaded from an app store or written and installed by customers or a third party. Sometimes, add-on applications are called sandboxed apps because they run as standalone processes to protect the rest of the HMI from any software faults.

HMI versions

This release of the product comes with two HMI versions:

Although these HMIs serve primarily as reference UIs, they do contain some active controls for configuring the car's climate, video playback, and other settings. The controls displayed the main HMI screens, the navigation between screens, and the mechanism for launching apps are all identical in the two HMI versions. The newer Qt5 HMI is a software port of the HTML5 HMI, so it matches the appearance and functionality of the HTML5 HMI.

By default, the Qt5 HMI is displayed, but you can reconfigure the system to launch the HTML5 HMI at startup (for details, see Running the HTML5 HMI).

UI theme

You can change the active UI theme under Settings > Personalization to give your system a different look and feel. In the Qt5 HMI, apps render their UIs by using controls in the Qt framework; the Personalization application also uses this framework to apply the active UI theme. In the HTML5 HMI, apps such as Media Player and Communication render their UIs by using CSS3. To apply the selected theme, the Personalization application uses SCSS to organize the CSS3 properties so it can reuse common styling rules.

Note: The same themes are supported by both HMI versions.

Developers of third-party HTML5 apps may use any combination of SCSS and CSS3 styling, regardless of which HMI version is active.

For more information on the UI frameworks used by the HMI, see "HMI Layer" in the Architecture Guide.


The following video gives an overview of the UI mechanisms and key reference apps:


HMI screens

The following table lists the HMI screens that access the core applications. These screens are displayed by tapping the individual tabs on the taskbar. The rest of this chapter contains brief descriptions of each of these screens.

HMI screen Description
Home This screen, which is shown when the HMI starts up, displays a dashboard summarizing the current navigation, weather, recent messages, and any media that's playing.
Navigation This screen accesses the active navigation engine. By default, the Elektrobit (EB) navigation engine runs when you select this tab. You can install different software and reconfigure your system to access another navigation engine in this screen.
Media Player Contains the Play Radio, Play Music, Play Video, and Search controls, which allow you to play and search for media from different sources.
Car Control Displays the Audio Control, Climate Control, Virtual Mechanic, and Personalization controls, which manage settings related to the vehicle's environment, user profile, and audio volume.
Communication Contains controls for communicating through a Bluetooth device (e.g., a smartphone) paired with the head unit. These controls are: Email Messages, Text Messages, Address Book, and Dial Pad.
Apps Section Displays add-on apps, including BestParking, The Weather Network, Pandora Radio, and more. Here you'll also find a Settings app with controls for Bluetooth Connectivity, Software Updates, Wi-Fi hotspots, and Wired Network settings.
Push-to-Talk Located in the lower-left corner of the HMI, this tab launches an automatic speech recognition (ASR) session for processing voice commands.