Chevrolet launches MyLink in-car infotainment, plus more highlights from the Mobile World Congress

Chevrolet launches MyLink in-car infotainment, plus more highlights from the Mobile World Congress

Chevrolet announced that Chevy MyLink will debut on the 2012 Chevy Volt and Equinox. MyLink is an in-car infotainment package that couples the safety and security of OnStar with online services like Pandora Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio. MyLink uses Bluetooth connectivity to harmonize with drivers’ smartphones and provides hands-free voice and touch-screen controls. MyLink also includes a seven-inch, high-resolution, full-color touch screen display that makes media selection easy to navigate. The system will step into the ring against the likes of Ford Sync, Kia Uvo, and Continental’s AutolinQ. “There is a new generation of car buyers who don’t want to settle for mass market radio,” says Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. “They want to create their own individual stations and have access to them wherever they are … The introduction of MyLink takes media personalization to a new level.” (For more on telematics and personalization, see ‘Telematics and Generation Y: Making the car an iPhone on wheels’.)

Nissan Connect

At the Mobile World Congress, Nissan Connect, a telematics service installed in the new Nissan LEAF, was awarded the Global Mobile Awards 2011 prize for the “Best Mobile Innovation for Automotive and Transport.” The telematics service was launched in Japan and the United States in December 2010 and will go on sale in Europe this quarter. With Nissan Connect, LEAF owners are constantly connected to the data and information they need to optimize their EV experience. An information control center communicates with the car navigation system. Nissan Connect also features EV usage history and battery conditions and remote control for battery charging and climate control. The system can be accessed by a dedicated website for EV owners as well as via mobile phones, smartphones, and computers to manage energy usage.

ROUTE 66 Maps + Navigation

At the Mobile World Congress, ROUTE 66 announced the launch of ROUTE 66 Maps + Navigation, a new app for Android leveraging TomTom’s maps and enhanced location content. ROUTE 66 Maps + Navigation is the first tangible outgrowth of the global agreement between ROUTE 66 and TomTom announced at the end of 2010. The app provides access to the latest maps for more than 100 countries, with impressive 3D graphics and links to useful information, like the weather and Wikipedia. Users can explore maps in any direction with multi-touch gestures for zooming, moving, tilting, and rotating the view, even during navigation. The app also offers augmented reality. Its Follow Me feature shows video of the street in front of you using the camera of the phone or tablet and adds a virtual 3D car driving. Indicator lights flash to tell you where to turn left or right.

Skyhook and Intel

At the Mobile World Congress, Skyhook announced that Intel has licensed Skyhook’s location system and will distribute it through the Intel AppUp Center, making the system available on a variety of Intel architecture-based devices. The Skyhook Core Engine hybrid location platform determines precise device location quickly and accurately by synthesizing data from Wi-Fi access points, GPS satellites, and cell towers using advanced hybrid positioning algorithms. Intel will enable Skyhook’s software to deliver advanced positioning capabilities for app developers creating applications for Windows and MeeGo-based devices. “Intel AppUp center is becoming a big part of the rapidly growing consumer app market and we’re looking forward to working with Intel to enable location-based capabilities on a broad range of Intel-based platforms,” says Skyhook’s founder, Michael Shean.

Mapquest for Android

MapQuest launched a free MapQuest for Android app targeted at the 18.2 million domestic Android phone users in the US. The new app features the same technology MapQuest issued for the iPhone with major additions, including OpenStreetMap data that allows consumers to use the app internationally and directly report errors onto the map. The free app does not require a trial period, subscription, or upgrade, making it an obvious competitor for Google Navigation. MapQuest for Android includes voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation; voice search that allows drivers to speak desired destinations for search and directions; and live traffic flow, which provides extensive traffic coverage updated every five minutes. The new app is available in both Android’s Web-based marketplace and the mobile marketplace.

Continental’s evSAT sensor

Continental announced a new sensor for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that will immediately shut off the high-voltage battery in the event of a collision while the vehicle is in charge mode. This means that emergency service personnel can recover vehicles without running the risk of suffering an electric shock. ‘evSAT’ stands for ‘Satellite for Electric Vehicles’ and consists of an independent, triaxial sensor with a CAN interface. During the charge phase, the other vehicle electronics, including the airbag system, are not operational. To avoid the considerable expense of adapting the airbag system to meet new requirements, Continental developed evSAT for the vehicle’s charge mode. The accelerator sensor employs an algorithm to detect a frontal, rear, or side collision with another vehicle and immediately transmits a signal via the CAN interface to the battery management system, which then switches off the battery within half a second. Series production of the sensor will begin in 2012.

Harman and 3dB Research

Harman announced the acquisition of 3dB Research Ltd, a leading developer of music and signal processing technology. Based in British Columbia, 3dB Research is the world leader in applying music intelligence to improve the quality and usability of vocal and instrumental music effects. 3dB Research has pioneered specific algorithms and software that enhance the joy of playing music. The company’s patent-pending musIQ technology is capable of analyzing most complex waveforms in real time to detect and understand the structure of music that allows for the development of innovative new products based on note detection, harmony generation, and pitch shifting. This technology is currently deployed in DigiTech’s Vocalist Live 3, Live5, and VL3D vocal harmony products as well as the innovative HarmonyMan and TimeBender guitar products. “We will continue to make acquisitions that enhance our leadership in audio and infotainment technologies and 3dB Research does just that,” says Dinesh C. Paliwal, Harman’s chairman, president, and CEO.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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