What’s inside your car’s “brain”? Car infotainment systems 2021 guide
Car infotainment systems connect with smart automotive technologies such as smartphones, sensors, telematics devices, and others to provide a safe, pleasant, and productive driving experience.
Read on to find out what in-vehicle infotainment systems are all about and what are the best options available right now to drivers looking to enhance their experience.
What is a car infotainment system?
An in-vehicle infotainment system is a combination of systems that deliver entertainment and information to the driver and passengers. They do it using audio and video interfaces, touch screen displays, button panels, voice commands, and many other features.
Why are these systems so popular today? Some of the reasons behind the spread of car infotainment systems are the general increase in car production, technological advancements, new telematics regulations, and the growing demand for luxury vehicles. MarketsandMarkets predicts that the in-vehicle infotainment market will reach $30.47 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 11.79%.
Critical features of car infotainment systems
Here are some of the most common technologies that are part of modern in-vehicle infotainment systems:
Head-up display (HUD)
A head-up display is a transparent display that shows data without requiring drivers to look away from the road (with the head positioned up and looking forward, instead of angled down). Advanced head-up displays increase safety by allowing users to see everything they need without getting their eyes off the road.
Car infotainment systems often include touch screens that are made of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) or TFT (Thin Film Transistors) to display complex, dynamic graphics and provide optimal functionality to users. Infotainment systems generally come with displays that range from 2 to 12 inches, but you can also find ones that feature HD displays that are 20 inches wide and offer users a more sophisticated experience.
Manufacturers can pair smartphones with automotive systems thanks to Bluetooth connectivity. By doing that, users can access phone features through the infotainment system. For example, users can manage incoming, outgoing, and conference calls, view their contact list, see call logs or even read and send emails or SMS.
Compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are two platforms that help users to integrate their smartphones with their car’s infotainment system. Android Auto supports apps from Google, such as Google Maps or Google Play Music through an Android-based smartphone. Apple CarPlay, on the other hand, supports iOS-based apps from the Apple App Store.
Multi-standard radio reception
Infotainment systems include AM and FM or DAB/DAB+ digital radio which manufacturers can adjust to automatic or manual tuning. Users can then scan available radio stations easily.
Car infotainment systems use Bluetooth, HDMI cable, and USB to transfer audio and video content to display screens, headphones, and speakers. These solutions can easily display pictures and videos, and they support a broad range of audio formats.
Advanced vehicular functionalities
Car infotainment systems support features that help users make the most of their vehicles and improve safety. These features include parking assistance, climate control in the vehicle, daytime running lights (DRL) indicators, and voice assistants that control system functions.
For example, an advanced parking assistance system can offer users a video feed from the rear view camera, displayed on the system screen only when reverse gear is being used.
Car infotainment systems 2021 guide
Now that you know what car infotainment systems are all about, let’s have a look at the best options available to drivers today.
Acura On Demand Multi-Use Display 2.0 (ODMD 2.0)
Acura focuses on delivering high-performing, responsive, and usable interfaces. The system prioritizes the displayed information on the basis of features drivers use most and helps them reach destinations easily.
The greatest benefit of the Acura system is its use of dual screens. Features like navigation, backup camera views, smartphone (powered by Apple CarPlay or Android Auto) are located on the top screen, easily within the driver’s line of sight. The lower touchscreen includes functionalities like audio and climate controls. Thanks to this, the screens are less cluttered and enable drivers to quickly access the features they need (also thanks to the simplified menu system).
Audi MMI and Virtual Cockpit
One of the best systems available on the market, Audi MMI and Virtual Cockpit offers well-designed touchpads and input dials, functional Google-based maps, and a sophisticated virtual cockpit that offers plenty of screen layout customization options.
The Google-based 3D mapping is of great help for navigating new places. The touchpads are smartly designed with usability in mind – they provide handwriting recognition for quicker inputs of destination or other information. The voice command system is handy, but users need to remember the commands precisely to make them work. The dashboard display is just stunning in terms of quality and functionality. And users who choose the connectivity feature, the vehicle will provide the hotspot functionality and offer information about local traffic, weather, and news.
Considered as the most innovative car infotainment system on the market, BMW’s iDrive offers a smooth experience thanks to its quality interface paired with a control knob/dial combination that allows easy navigation. This well-designed system comes with voice controls, gesture controls, and a number of physical buttons to provide a streamlined driving experience.
The signature feature of the system, the knob, offers an easy, single-point interface with the system. Users can augment it with alternative buttons and gestures too – for example, to create shortcuts. The system is quick and responsive, bringing a wealth of features to its users (granted, the possibility to control it via voice, touch, button pressing and gesticulating might lead to a slight interface overload). But the large head-up displays with touchscreens featuring movable tiles make up for it, allowing enhanced customization and minimizing distraction during use thanks to the impeccable design.
Jaguar Land Rover Touch Pro Duo
The system developed by Jaguar/Land Rover is part of the Range Rover, Range Rover Velar, Range Rover Sport, and I-Pace electric SUV. The Touch Pro Duo system is well-designed, easy to use, and visually appealing. In the Velar, users get two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens where the upper screen features media, navigation, and phone panels, and the lower screen focuses on vehicle systems (climate control, Terrain Response system).
The smartphone-like interface helps new users to ease into the experience quickly, using the same gestures such as swiping left or right to change screens or pinch-to-zoom when scanning maps. The LCD displays are sleek and can be customized to their function (from temperature to off-road mode selection or massage seat settings). The system is quick and responsive, while nonstop connectivity brings a stream of news, weather reports, and other features. For instance, users can easily send your location and ETA via text message or email.
Car infotainment systems are the future
There’s no denying that innovative technologies such as in-vehicle infotainment systems set the direction for the future of the automotive industry. Providing consumers with smooth, safe, and enjoyable experiences is a priority in this sector, and such systems offer organizations with an opportunity to address the evolving customer demands in the most rewarding ways.
Are you looking for a team of automotive technology experts? Get in touch with us; we help automotive organizations deliver better experiences to their customers with the help of advanced technological solutions.