New York Auto Show Weekly Brief—4.8.2013

In this week’s Brief: Audi, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Harman, Chrysler, Daimler, Garmin, and Ctrack

The spring auto show season came to a close this week in New York, where automakers traditionally pull out some of their biggest announcements of the year—complete with choreographed dance routines, draft beer, mascots, and floor-to-ceiling LED screens. This year’s show was relatively tame on the telematics front, but there was some notable news nonetheless, starting with Audi.

The German automaker broke out bottles of Warsteiner beer when announcing the 2015 A3, which will offer an upgraded Audi Connect infotainment platform with 4G/LTE technology. 4G will allow faster response times and Wi-Fi connectivity for up to eight devices in the vehicle.

The new A3 also tacks on upgraded navigation services (Google Earth 3D imagery, photo uploading with GPS coordinates) and a NVIDIA graphics processing unit that generates complex three-dimensional images used in all online, voice control, media navigation and telephone functions. The car will come with an optional driver assistance package when it hits dealer floors in Q1 2014.

“The Audi A3 will set the new benchmark among entry-level luxury sedans,” said Scott Keogh, President of Audi of America, at the show. “This A3 line-up redefines the standards of its class in dynamics, efficiency, technology, craftsmanship and performance.”

BMW announced that it will broaden the flexibility and usability of its smartphone integration by adding four new apps to its iPhone suite. The latest BMW Approved Apps for iPhone include Audible (audiobooks), Glympse (location sharing), Rhapsody (subscription music service) and TuneIn (Internet radio).

BMW’s smartphone integration links the iPhone through the center console either via the USB cable or through an available snap-in adapter.

Toyota announced that the 2014 Highlander will come with an optional touch screen navigation with Toyota’s Entune multimedia system, which enables easy smartphone integration. The car will also offer ADAS features like a blind-spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, and a lane departure alert system.

Lastly, the car will feature Toyota’s STAR Safety System, with Vehicle Stability Control, Smart Stop Technology, and the Safety Connect system.

Honda revealed that the 2014 Odyssey will feature as standard the HondaLink infotainment system, which allows drivers to connect with the cloud from their dashboards. The free HondaLink smartphone app uses the owner’s favorite online content to create live, personalized radio stations and to hear updates and news feeds from Facebook and Twitter.

Honda showcased the car alongside its Honda Fit Electric Vehicle and 2014 Honda Accord plug-in hybrid.

Jaguar Land Rover unveiled the new Range Rover Sport, whose Connected Car technology allows the driver to check the status of the vehicle via an App installed on their smartphone and also provides support features such as Stolen Vehicle Tracking, Emergency Call and Land Rover Assist Call.

A Wi-Fi Hotspot can be installed so that passengers can get the best data connection for their smartphones or tablets, and an optional head-up display presents key vehicle and navigation data using laser technology for superior clarity and contrast. ADAS features like lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition come standard.

Finally, Harman announced that a trio of auto brands will add Harman’s streaming audio web service, the Aha radio app, come 2014. The first two were no surprise given Harman’s new partnership with Chrysler.

The Aha app will now come as part of the Uconnect platform on 2014 Dodge Durangos and Jeeps. Harman also announced that Toyota will integrate Aha into its 2014 Scion.

Outside of the New York Auto Show, Daimler selected Garmin as global navigation provider for future Mercedes-Benz models. Garmin’s navigation will be fully integrated into Mercedes-Benz infotainment systems over the next four years.

In addition to displaying navigation and maps on the in-dash display, users will have access to important driver information (like next turn) at a glance on a second display positioned behind the steering wheel.

Ctrack launched a tool in the U.K. that allows fleet operators to extract CANBus data from commercial vehicles without paying for fleet management standard gateway technology (which can cost more than £1000).

Ctrack’s CANTouch can capture the data from HGVs and vans without breaking the rubber sleeve on the ECU cable or requiring any soldering that can invalidate a manufacturer’s warranty.

Access to CANbus data enables fleet operators to report on a wide range of metrics including fuel usage, miles per gallon, excessive RPM, green band driving and harsh acceleration and braking.

In Japan, Honda unveiled a low-speed collision prevention system dubbed the City-Brake Active System. The City-Brake Active System operates when the vehicle is travelling at speeds of less than 18mph. It uses a laser radar installed in the upper part of the windscreen to detect when a collision is imminent. If the City-Brake Active System identifies a high risk of collision it will issue audio and visual warnings to the driver.

If the driver does not take action to avoid the collision then the system will automatically apply the brakes. City-Brake Active will be introduced on the all-new Honda Jazz which will go on sale later in 2013.

For exclusive business analysis and insight about telematics applications, see Industry Insight: Telematics and Apps

Coming up in 2013: Insurance Telematics Europe 2013 on May 8-9 in London and Telematics India and South Asia 2013 on June 5-7 in India, plus TU Detroit June 5-6 in Detroit.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports on In-Vehicle Smartphone Integration Report, Human Machine Interface Technologies and Smart Vehicle Technology: The Future of Insurance Telematics.


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