Last edit: 2023.07.28

In this TomTom Digital Cockpit development guide, you can find a set of documents that describe the fundamentals of the TomTom Digital Cockpit platform, and the building blocks that are used to build and create new functionality.

The TomTom Digital Cockpit platform is a framework built on top of Android Automotive OS, that allows you to create functionality needed for digital cockpits. It comes with a set of ready-made applications, and a set of platform APIs that extend the functionality of the standard Android Automotive platform.

The TomTom Digital Cockpit product is deployed as one single Android APK, which means that each application for TomTom Digital Cockpit is built as a set of plugins to the TomTom Digital Cockpit framework. What is deployed as part of the end product, is configured at build time. You can, for example, select which off-the-shelf TomTom Digital Cockpit applications should be part of your product, and which ones should be replaced with your own applications, or merely add new functionality.

The following diagram shows everything that’s included in TomTom Digital Cockpit, all off-the-shelf components (purple colored) and how these relate to other software in a vehicle.

TomTom Digital Cockpit architecture

Off-the-shelf components

The TomTom Digital Cockpit platform comes with a collection of standard components. These can be used as the off-the-shelf implementation for front-ends, services and other components when your project has no special requirements on them. In the source repository, off-the-shelf components are referred to as stock components.

In the Digital Cockpit source code these stock components are usually created in the namespace com.tomtom.ivi.appsuite.xx. You may consider these as delivered directly from stock, without further treatment or customization.

The benefits of using off-the-shelf components

As you can see from the number of puzzle pieces in the diagram, TomTom Digital Cockpit is extremely modular: almost anything that is provided out-of-the-box can be customized or replaced. But many of the applications can also be customized without any code changes, by applying a different theme to them, or by modifying their static configuration files.

Besides the benefit of kick-starting your development with our off-the-shelf puzzle pieces, the modular architecture provide another great benefit: we, at TomTom, keep updating TomTom Digital Cockpit and provide new versions of applications and services over time. By pulling these components from our artifact repository, your system can easily benefit from software updates that we provide for the TomTom Digital Cockpit platform and its applications. This includes security updates as well as functional improvements.

Building your own services and applications

Next to the components, or puzzle pieces, there are green boxes in the diagram. These depict the APIs that TomTom Digital Cockpit offers on top of Android Automotive. These APIs are complementary to Android APIs; they do not try to mimic or reimplement any Android behavior, but rather extend the Android APIs with a lot of useful APIs for IVI software development. The description of these APIs can be found in the API reference section of this site.

TomTom Digital Cockpit Fundamentals

The User Interface (UI) part of a TomTom Digital Cockpit application is built using a frontend plugin. A frontend plugin is created using standard Android layouts and fragments, enhanced with the concept of panels. A panel represents the intention of a frontend to show a fragment. TomTom Digital Cockpit also comes with a set of UI controls that are based on the standard Android controls, but tailored for the TomTom Digital Cockpit platform and its look and feel. You can read more about this in the UI controls section.

The System UI section explains how panels are arranged, managed and presented to the user on the screen.

Non UI related logic can be wrapped in an IVI service, which provides a mechanism to encapsulate longer-running tasks and business logic for some distinct functionality in the platform. These are based on Android services, and use the same mechanisms, but hide some of the details of the Android service implementation.

The look and feel of the TomTom Digital Cockpit product can be changed through Theming and Customization, which is based on Android's styles and themes, with additional functionality to support different themes and swapping them at runtime.

The TomTom Digital Cockpit platform is divided into different functional platform domains, which are described separately. Next to to the various domains plugins can connect with, TomTom Digital Cockpit offers a number of platform features to further integrate plugins with the rest of the system.