SAN FRANCISCO—Chip supplier Intel Corp. and automaker Toyota Motor Corp. announced Wednesday (Nov. 9) that the companies are working together to define next-generation in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems that will enable new usage models for mobile device connectivity in the car.
Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.) and Toyota (Tokyo) are working together to adapt features that drivers and passengers use in the latest consumer electronic devices to an automotive environment, the companies said. Citing information provided by wireless electronics consortium Mobile Future, Intel said the connected car is the third-fastest growing technological device, following smartphones and tablets.
"Through this joint effort, we hope to improve the driving experience by enabling a seamless connection between mobile devices and the vehicle so when brought together they naturally adapt and work in harmony," said Staci Palmer, general manager of Intel's Automotive Solutions division, in a statement.
Silicon solutions serving the infotainment and telematics market are expected to rise from $5.6 billion in 2010 to $8.7 billion in 2018, according to Strategy Analytics.
Intel and Toyota said they aim to integrate advanced technologies in the vehicle in a more intuitive manner that reduces driver distraction. To accomplish this, the companies will focus research on developing a user interaction methodology including touch, gesture and voice technologies as well as information management for the driver. Intel will also work to optimize these features and services using the Intel's Atom processors.
Intel and Toyota will also explore emerging connectivity technologies and effective ways to integrate vehicles with the home to provide a seamless connection across all areas of people's lives, the companies said.
The lifecycle of cars is much longer than the lifecycle for consumer electronics. I see two opportunities. First, the time is ripe for some cost effective electronics entertainment retrofits to cars. My 6 year old hybrid doesn't even have an audio jack for my smartphone. While planning ahead for the technologies of the future is nice, I'd guess that cost effective upgrades for USB and smartphone connectivity could be a rewarding market. Secondly, a 120 volt emergency power inverter retrofit package for cars could probably do very well if the power failures over the past two months in New England are any indicator. The cigarette lighter outlet nowhere near taps the power potential of a vehicle for emergency use.
Improving in-car infotainment has been one of the focuses between car companies and other tech companies. They range from being able to track the location wherever you are, providing directions to allowing you to access Facebook on the go.