Infotainment innovations at IAA Frankfurt
By Jack Bergquist, Market Analyst, IMS Research
There were some interesting innovations in terms of connected platforms and HMI developments at the show.
Every concept car was being shown with a full colour display and a connected infotainment system, most with interesting and novel HMI’s. For example, the Ford Evos, which has a touch console for the right hand to rest on. It looked very similar to the type of interface you would see in a science fiction film.
Alpine were showing a very interesting system utilising Mirrolink (aka Terminal Mode). This is being released in the near future into the aftermarket channel and will work with any Nokia smart phone that runs their Symbian Belle operating system. The system will also be backward- compatible with some older Symbian handsets if users update their operating systems.
Toyota and Harman were showing production versions of their touch ‘n’ go connected navigation platform in the Yaris and Avensis vehicle models. The service operates through the user’s cell phone, paired via Bluetooth. Currently it is only compatible with Blackberrys, some Nokias, and the iPhone. It is not supported by Android platforms, although there are a selection of compatible handsets being released in the near future. At present, the core connected functionality is Google Search, which can supply images to the car and integrates into the navigation system to provide directions to the required location. There is also flexibility to add additional functions via software updates at a later date.
Continental AG was demonstrating their Autolinq software/hardware platform. The demonstrator highlighted the potential of the software and hardware to push up to six widgets on to three individual screens, which could be distributed throughout the car. The displays were “smart,” so they decoded the signal from the unit at the source and provided the required graphics acceleration, allowing the core unit cost to be reduced, along with not requiring high data capacity cabling between the head unit and the output screen. The platform is aimed to be scalable and very flexible to suit the requirements of the specific OEM customer.
Aisin had a number of different navigation platforms on display in its stand. Two notable systems was its “low cost” navigation head unit available on the Toyota Yaris in Europe. This system has no CD drive, instead leveraging external device connectivity with systems such as an iPod. For a “low cost” solution the head unit was very feature rich, with functions such a Bluetooth and a scrollable navigation map.
The Audi navigation system for the Asian market was also on show. This featured an embedded connectivity module along with an intricate HMI including a multi-function touch interface that featured handwriting recognition which was able to work with Chinese/Japanese characters (depending on the region of sale) and English characters.
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