The Consumer Telematics Show (CTS) is the most focused infotainment meeting for the automotive industry. It’s held in Las Vegas on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Between the two shows there’s lots of in-car entertainment, automotive navigation and automotive telematics news.
Google announced this week the Open Automotive Alliance, with General Motors, Honda, Audi, Hyundai, and chipmaker Nvidia signing up. The goal is to customize Google’s mobile operating system for vehicles and bring together
Smartphone apps are starting to make high-profit infotainment systems obsolete, so the auto companies what to stay in front of this trend. Mapping services that come free with smartphones, for example, have become a compelling alternative to pricey built-in navigation systems.
Mary Chan, President of General Motors’ Global Connected Consumer unit said; “We see huge opportunities for the Android platform paired with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.”
Ford and Microsoft collaborated on MyFord Touch, ties cars to mobile devices. More than 1 million vehicles equipped with SYNC AppLink are on the road today, and another 3.4 million vehicles – model year 2010 and newer – will be eligible to download the new AppLink update later this year.
Several updates have been released for Microsoft’s embedded system which allowed for more natural speech recognition, simpler Bluetooth pairing, and refinement of the on-screen interface and menus.
Other carmakers use a variety of telematics, infotainment and navigation systems:
- QNX software acquired by BlackBerry homegrown software, or variants of the Linux operating system. QNX software has been designed into over 200 different automobile makes and models for .
- AT&T is teaming with Ericsson, Amdocs, Jasper Wireless, Synchronoss and others to create AT&T Drive, a mobile platform for developing LTE connected car.
- Sprint’s in-vehicle platform, Velocity, was launched in November 2012. It was also developed to allow car-makers to add security, navigation, remote diagnostics, emergency services and infotainment. Sprint is a strategic wireless partner for Chrysler’s Uconnect voice-activated system.
- In 2009, BMW, GM, Intel, and others announced the Genivi Alliance, collaborating around the Linux operating system. The NG Connect project, a collaboration of automotive telematic technologies, is designed around 4G wireless connectivity.
But Android, a variant of Linux, has an advantage over other software because of its dominance in the mobile device industry. In addition, BMW, Kia, Audi, and Toyota already use Google technology for search, maps, and other functions. Tesla’s all-electric Model S sedan ships with a 17-inch touch screen. You can split the screen to have a massive top section for Google Maps and a lower section for music.
Elsewhere in Silicon Valley, new companies like CloudCar use a small computing device that can be plugged into a car to give it a modern infotainment system.
Local Motion lets people get access and check availability of a pool of cars from online tools. There are more than 10 million cars in fleets across the US but many sit unused or could be used more efficiently, says Local Motion.
The company tracks all of that on the back end and can offer analytics and operational guidance for the people in charge of managing the fleets.