Auto electronics, sat nav

Audi Cars Getting Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

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Audi Cars Getting Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

The Audi Multi Media Interface (MMI) will get both CarPlay and Android Auto functionality by 2015 as part of a collaboration with both Apple and Google, the auto maker announces.

“Our customers want to be "always on" and use the services they know from their smartphones in cars as well,” Audi says. “In this regard, we are working closely with leading companies like Google and Apple. In the future, customers will be able to use the functions available to them on their smartphones via the operating systems in their cars as well."

The Audi MMI proposal provides customers with a choice between the two most popular smartphone platforms, with users being able to switch between platforms at any time.

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Pioneer Systems Get CarPlay

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Pioneer Systems Get CarPlay

Pioneer announces its first aftermarket in-dash auto systems equipped with CarPlay connectivity, with 5 such solutions getting compatibility with the Apple interface by Q3 2014 via firmware update.

The systems in question are the AVIC-F60DAB, AVIC-F960DAB, AVIC-F960BT, AVIC-F860BT and the AVH-X8600BT. All feature "large" LCD displays armed with a more advanced UI, sound quality improvements and safety enhancements.

Meanwhile CarPlay provides Siri voice control, Apple Maps and iTunes Radio via Lightning cable and iPhone 5, 5s or 5c.

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Alpine to Make CarPlay-Enabled System?

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Alpine to Make CarPlay-Enabled System?

Nikkei reports Alpine Electronics will be the first vendor to sell a stand-alone in-car infotainment console compatible with CarPlay, the recently revealed "smarter, safer and more fun" means of using iDevices in the car.

According to the report the console will be first available in Europe, and connects to Lightning-enabled iPhones (5 and up) via cable. It should feature a 7-inch display for maps, use voice commands to access messages, make calls and control media and read out messages and directions.

CarPlay was announced at the Geneva Motor Show 2014 in partnership with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, but at the time Apple gave no indication it was to be available within consumer devices.

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Windows (also) Takes on Autos

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Windows (also) Takes on Autos

At the BUILD 2014 Microsoft shows off a prototype of Windows in the Car, a platform the unkind might describe as the Windows Phone equivalent of Apple's recently announced CarPlay in-vehicle interface.

Mind, Microsoft has been an auto industry presence for a long time-- at least 15 years according to Microsoft developer Steve Texeira. One can find Windows CE- and Windows Automative-powered infotainment systems in BMW, Fiat, Ford, Kia and Nissan cars, but the company believes it is time for a Metro-style update.

Like CarPlay, Windows in the Car mirrors Windows devices into the built-in car display using a touch- and car-friendly interface. It looks a bit like a mini-Windows 8, complete with swiping gestures and large tiles for supported apps. The demo sees the user selecting different functions, including navigation, calls, media control and even driving assessments, and voice commands via Cortana technology also make a showing.

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Apple Takes on Autos

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Apple Takes on Autos

The Geneva Motor Show 2014 will have Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo debut the Apple take on in-vehicle interfaces-- CarPlay, a "smarter, safer and more fun" means of using iDevices in the car.

The system is controllable via either in-car touchscreen or a push-and-hold control button for Siri-based voice navigation of smartphone services, including 3rd party apps such as Spotify and iHeartRadio. However it requires connection of a Lightning-enabled iPhone (5 and up), meaning it is not actual an in-car operating system.

“CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” Apple says. “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction.”

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Pioneer Augments Driving With NavGate

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Pioneer Augments Driving With NavGate

Pioneer combines smartphone navigation apps with a projector and a glass visor in the NavGate, an augmented reality navigation system providing users with the illusion of a display covering the road ahead.

Revealed at IFA 2013, the NavGate is compatible with USB-equipped smartphones and gathers information from the CoPilot and iGo primo apps. It beams a 30-inch display roughly 3m in front of the driver via DLP projector.

The display overlays location information (such as turn-by-turn directions, speed limits, distance, clock and estimated time of arrival) over the landscape, creating an admittedly futuristic effect.

One can mount the NavGate on the sun visor, and can easily remove it for theft protection.

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An Espresso Machine... for the Car

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An Espresso Machine... for the Car

Your more coffee-serious customers might like to save a few minutes in getting their morning caffeine fix with the Handpresso-- a small espresso machine plugging into the 12V cigarette lighter.

It uses regular ESE coffee pods, fits in car cup holders and makes up to 53ml of coffee with 16 bars of pressure. Coffee making takes all of 2 minutes, and the company claims the results are "delicious, creamy Continue reading...

Garmin Reduces Distractions with HUD

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Garmin Reduces Distractions with HUD

Garmin announces a means of keeping drivers' eyes firmly on the road with portable Heads-up Display (HUD)-- a small display projecting basic navigation information onto either transparent film on the windscreens or attached reflector lens.

It receives data via Bluetooth from smartphones (iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8) running the Garmin StreetPilot 1 or NAVIGON apps. Navigation info on the display Continue reading...

EC Proposes Mandatory eCall

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EC Proposes Mandatory eCall

In order to reduce the consequences of  road accidents across the EU the European Commission (EC) proposes all new cars should be equipped with an eCall device set to automatically dial the 112 emergency number in case of serious accidents from 2015.

Following accidents the eCall device not dials 112 and sends accident data to rescue services, such as incident time, accurate vehicle position and travel direction.

The EC insists such devices will not monitor data, saying "for liability reasons, the emergency call centres will store the data related to the eCall for a determined period of time, in accordance with national regulations and with Data Protection Directive."

The mandated eCall device will be a dormant system activated by either accident or manual button press. Drivers will also be free to use proprietary systems, so long these carry an automatic 112 eCall switch.

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Auto Wifi, Bluetooth and Audio in One Chip

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Auto Wifi, Bluetooth and Audio in One Chip

UK-based wireless chip maker CSR launches the CSRC9300 at Telematics Detroit 2013-- an auto-grade chipset the company claims is the first to combine wifi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity with audio capacities.

The chip allows car manufacturers to develop connected in-car applications, including Miracast over 5GHz and keyless entry via Bluetooth, through enhanced 802.11a wifi (2.4 and 5GHz) and Bluetooth Continue reading...

The Most Wanted In-Auto Tech

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The Most Wanted In-Auto Tech

The growing ranks of smartphone owners in the US want more smartphone-vehicle integration J.D. Power & Associates reports-- with 82% of smartphone-owning survey respondents showing interest in pre-purchasing in-vehicle device/app links.

With 67% of survey respondents owning smartphones, such interest beats demand for technologies such as natural voice control (74%) or next-gen HUDs (74%). Even older (born on 1947-1953) drivers show interest in smartphone integration, especially at a lower price point.

The 2013 study covers car owners in the US, but with European smartphone adoption on the rise we have no doubt customers on our side of the pond would be equally (if not more so) interested in such automobile electronics.

"Automakers have an important opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by working side by side with smartphone and application developers to provide a seamless smartphone experience for in-vehicle control of GPS/mapping, music, weather, search tools, travel and more," J.D. Power & Associates says. "These connections to smartphone applications need to be robust, affordable and simple to access and use in a vehicle environment."

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