The car as an IT product

The car as an IT product

Summary: As much as I'm tempted to write about the never-ending saga on the controversial national broadband network project (there's a revelation almost everyday on this issue, with the latest being Pres. Arroyo's admission that it was indeed riddled with anomalies), I have resolved to shy away from this national shame momentarily.

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TOPICS: Philippines
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As much as I'm tempted to write about the never-ending saga on the controversial national broadband network project (there's a revelation almost everyday on this issue, with the latest being Pres. Arroyo's admission that it was indeed riddled with anomalies), I have resolved to shy away from this national shame momentarily.

Instead, I'll be talking about IT in cars, as you can see from the title of this entry. But, first, a disclosure: I'm a frustrated motoring journalist. With IT now overtaking the automobile industry, I have found the perfect reason to write about cars--with a touch of tech.

Cutting-edge car technology is not exactly synonymous with the Philippines compared with, say, Malaysia which has been hosting F1 racing events, and even Singapore which will hold an F1 night race this year. However, the Philippines is also a manufacturing hub for carmakers such as Toyota, Isuzu, Ford and Nissan.

But, not many people are aware that the Philippines, which biggest export earner is the semiconductor and electronics sector, is also a major source of intelligent IT components for cars. In fact, a semiconductor company based here is the biggest supplier of IT components to BMW.

AMI Semiconductor Philippines (AMIS), based in Laguna, a province south of Metro Manila, has made its automotive division its biggest moneymaker with revenues reaching to US$147 mllion in 2006, which represents 24 percent of its overall income.

Its expertise in automotive are spread in four key sectors: safety and convenience (stability sensing, pedal positioning, control by wire), power-train (injection control, oil leveling sensor, air flow), body electronics (in-vehicle networking, LED brake light, keyless entry), and driver information (dashboard controller, navigation information, compass).

Curiously, even the local office of BMW didn't know about this small fact. I volunteered the information to executives of the German carmaker, during an interview about a prototype BMW car currently running in Europe that has built-in WiFi and GPS (global positioning system) capabilities.

The FIA, the governing body of motor sports worldwide--including the Formula One World Championship--has acknowledged the role of IT in the evolution of car technology. It is, in fact, participating in this year's "Fully Networked Car 2008" organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The event seeks to unite the ICT and motor industries to examine the networked car technology concept and, specifically, work on standards that will facilitate the convergence of these industries.

Indeed, cars are now more into IT than engines and gears. And the motoring world is now reaching out to the technology sector for innovations.

Topic: Philippines

Melvin G. Calimag

About Melvin G. Calimag

Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Association.

Joel D. Pinaroc

About Joel D. Pinaroc

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

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