Infotainment upgrades Weekly Brief—3.12.2012

Infotainment upgrades Weekly Brief—3.12.2012

In this week's Brief: Volkswagen, HARMAN, INRIX, TripAdvisor, AutoNavi, TomTom, Qoros Auto, TomTom, Renault, RelayRides, OnStar, Ford, Garmin and Land Rover

Volkswagen plans to launch new models of its VW Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia with next-generation infotainment systems from HARMAN.

The systems will be based on a modular infotainment platform that enables VW to easily upgrade the hardware and software in order to synchronize the onboard technology with latest developments of the consumer electronics industry with its dramatically shorter lifecycle and development cycles than the automotive industry.

Volume of the contract is estimated at about $1.25 billion.

“In-car internet access and improved connectivity are seen as key requirements for today’s and tomorrow’s cars,” says Dinesh Paliwal, HARMAN’s Chairman, President and CEO. “Based on the HARMAN Infotainment platform, Volkswagen Group will be able to offer its customers an always up-to-date mobile and multimedia experience for the whole lifecycle of the models.”

HARMAN announced that it will begin rolling out its Aha service in Western Europe by the end of the month.

INRIX and TripAdvisor have reached agreements with Aha to deliver European content to the Aha platform, further expanding the array of content. INRIX will deliver European traffic information through Aha and TripAdvisor will provide travel content to the Aha platform for the first time both in Western Europe and the US.
Both services will be accessible through Aha in Europe later this year.

Via its joint venture partner AutoNavi, TomTom announced a seven-year agreement with Qoros Auto, an international automotive corporation based in China.

TomTom and AutoNavi will deliver HD Traffic, marking the first real-time traffic customer for the newly expanded joint venture.

In 2013 the first cars, aimed at young metropolitan users, will hit the streets in China equipped with HD Traffic, providing drivers with accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date traffic information.

Elsewhere, TomTom partnered up with Renault to supply the navigation in the upcoming R-Link, Renault's new integrated, connected multi-media system.

R-Link features a seven-inch display, steering wheel mounted controls and speech recognition and integrated connectivity.

R-Link uses IQ routes and maps from TomTom. It also offers LIVE Services, including TomTom HD Traffic, giving drivers the fastest route to their destination based on the latest traffic situation.

Zoe is the first Renault car model to be equipped with R-Link.

RelayRides and OnStar finalized work on a smartphone app that will make the RelayRides service available to OnStar users.

RelayRides matches up drivers in search of a car with owners willing to loan. The rental rate is usually between $5 and $10, though owners get to set the rate.

The app will allow drivers to unlock OnStar-equipped cars for a specific length of time. The two companies expect the app to launch in the next several months in the U.S.

Ford launched a software update to Ford SYNC. The touch screen interface has been enhanced with simpler graphics and bolder text, and the response time of the touch screen is now faster and speech recognition improved so drivers can focus on driving.

In addition, Ford engineers added new features including better phone compatibility, support for tablet computers and Audible audiobooks, improved navigation maps and destination entry.

The upgraded system will roll out to all new 2013 models that offer MyFord Touch, and the improved software will be offered to more than 300,000 current owners. Ford said that features of MyFord Touch rank as some of the top purchase reasons for new models.

Garmin and Land Rover will jointly host the KC Cache Dash, a high-tech scavenger hunt based on GPS technology and social media connectivity.

The dash is designed to promote awareness and support for local charities.

Four teams will explore the Kansas City area searching for hidden treasure, while everyone in the community is invited to an interactive geocaching expos.

The event will take place on March 24th.




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