Toyota and Clear Channel Radio release mobile radio app, as GM and OnStar launch MyChevrolet and MyLink

Toyota and Clear Channel Radio release mobile radio app, as GM and OnStar launch MyChevrolet and MyLink

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. partnered with Clear Channel Radio to integrate mobile radio into Toyota vehicles. Clear Channel Radio's mobile app, iheartradio, will allow Toyota to incorporate more than 750 radio stations and other exclusive content, like real-time traffic updates, into select Toyota vehicles beginning in 2011. This is the first partnership Toyota has announced for mobile application integration.

“Personalization is important to our customers,” said Jon Bucci, vice president advanced technology, TMS. “Delivering iheartradio in the vehicle will allow our owners to customize their drive-time experience.” iheartradio currently has more than 10.5 million users. In addition to local radio stations, the app will provide Toyota drivers with access to unique celebrity-hosted channels from Christina Aguilera, the Eagles, and Weezer, as well as commercial-free
shows from the likes of Ryan Seacrest and Elvis Duran.

Garmin and ASUS announce new relationship

Garmin and ASUS announced a new strategic decision to change the current co-brand business model. Starting next year, all new handheld products will be sold under the “ASUS” brand with a “Garmin Navigation” logo on the back. The new ASUS smartphones will continue to come preloaded with Garmin’s onboard navigation and LBS applications. The announcement came shortly after Garmin confirmed reports that ASUS and Garmin had discontinued their nuviphone smartphone, which was intended to compete with the iPhone but never took off. “This new strategy to brand all smartphones under the ASUS name will complete our entire product portfolio and allow us to provide a total solution for seamless connectivity in the new digital era,” said Jonney Shih, chairman of ASUS.

Daimler and Europcar launch car2go on-demand rental

Daimler and Europcar announced that car2go will launch in Hamburg, Germany, in the spring of 2011. car2go is Daimler’s new mobility concept that allows users to rent cars on-demand and to plan one-way trips. Austin, Texas, and Ulm, Germany, have been running car2go trial programs since May. Hamburg plans to start with a 300-vehicle fleet in 2011. The vehicles will be two-seater smart car2go models equipped with a sophisticated car-sharing telematics system and a solar roof. Daimler and Europcar have joined forces to establish car2go Hamburg GmbH, in which Europcar has a majority stake.

HARMAN to invest $100 million in China

HARMAN announced plans to invest another $100 million to bolster its manufacturing and research capabilities in China. This new plan follows an initial investment phase of $75 million undertaken in 2007–2008 to establish manufacturing and R&D operations in Shanghai, Suzhou, and Shenzhen. As part of the latest investment plan, HARMAN will partner with the northern city of Dandong to create two new manufacturing operations with a total joint investment of some $50 million. From its new automotive electronics and audio systems operation in Dandong, HARMAN will conduct development, engineering, and manufacturing for the world’s leading automakers.

MyChevrolet and MyLink for iPhones and Androids

GM and OnStar released MyChevrolet and MyLink, mobile apps for owners of 2011 Chevy vehicles. The apps are available as free downloads and allow owners to access vehicle information and OnStar services straight from their iPhones or Androids. The apps include location-based services, including a parking reminder that allows drivers to save their parking location to a GPS-enabled map, set a timer to track how much time they have on the parking meter, and even add a note or photo with details about their parking location. If they return to a flat tire, the driver can use the app to request roadside assistance or to locate the closest Chevrolet dealership and schedule a service appointment.

Aptina’s new image sensor

Aptina launched the MT9M024 image sensor, the latest in automotive camera technology. The sensor allows cars to provide lane-departure warnings, traffic sign recognition, stereovision, pedestrian detection, rear view, surround view, and drowsy driver applications. The sensor includes advanced features like HD video capability and excellent pixel sensitivity for capturing details in low-light environments. Applying Aptina's DR-PixT technology, low-light performance is improved without compromising image quality.

Digi m130 for fleet management and asset tracking

Digi International introduced the Digi m130, an embedded module that allows OEMS to enable their products with cellular, GPS, and satellite connectivity in a single solution. The m130 is intended specifically for fleet management and asset tracking applications. Cellular and satellite connectivity provide instant, always-on communications that allow companies to switch networks easily. On-board GPS enables location tracking and geo-fencing.

“As a vehicle moves out of cell range, it can then use satellite to maintain connectivity,” said Larry Kraft, senior vice president of global sales and marketing, Digi International. “This combined with GPS functionality allows organizations to track their products to within five meters of accuracy virtually anywhere on the planet.” The Digi m130 is now available for $169. Digi m130 customers will also have access to the iDigi cloud computing platform for M2M network management by the second quarter of 2011.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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