Everything you need to know about modern car infotainment

The demand for cars in the world is increasing, thereby also increasing the demand for luxury cars. Faced with such a scenario, manufacturers are increasingly making an effort to develop cars with infotainment that offer a choice of integrated entertainment and information.

This in order to offer its users an increasingly improved experience in cars. here you will understand what is infotainmentits characteristics, how it works and other relevant aspects that you should know.

What is infotainment?

One of the key technologies, which works as the focal point of all systems in modern cars and integrates their functions. These can be controlled and monitored from a central unit, which is known as infotainment.

infotainment is a combination of systems used in cars to provide entertainment and information to the driver and passengers. This is achieved through the audio/video interfaces, button panel, control elements such as touch screens, voice commands, and more.

You can play music, videos and other forms of audiovisual entertainment through a touch screen in the center of the dash. Also the infotainment can offer you navigation information to help you reach your destination in much faster ways.

Infotainment has always been a standard feature in cars, but modern cars include much more technology and connectivity than those of decades ago.

How car infotainment systems evolved

In-car entertainment systems or ICE

This type of ICE or car entertainment system is very old, and it is very likely that you do not remember them. ICE only provided radio and music back then.

For decades, radios were a standard feature in cars, later evolving to radio cassettes, CDs and, more recently, USB flash drives for playing music.

TV and video game screens

As the technology evolved, more sophisticated items or aftermarket upgrades were added. In the beginning of 21st century television screens incorporated into entertainment systems became fashionablejust as they made their appearance in famous movies like Fast and Furious, among others.

Upgrades were found in the aftermarket that allowed video game consoles to be connected to the system.

The arrival of infotainment systems

The latest models that hit the market include infotainment systems. Not only entertainment is important anymore, but also navigation and connectivity. When we talk about connectivity, we are referring to Internet, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivityinstead of the AUX ports of the past.

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Today’s infotainment systems can play music and transfer data to the car directly. Some cars incorporate generic operating systems for the operation of the infotainment in the car. Car manufacturers still continue to develop new systems for their cars.

How does infotainment work?

Car infotainment works by integrating many other internal and external systems to provide entertainment and information to the driver and passengers. Its main components are:

Integrated main unit

The main unit of the infotainment is a tablet-like device, which is based on a touch screen, which is located on the dashboard of the car. main unit acts as a control center that seamlessly connects to infotainment.

alert screen

The alert screen forms an important part of the high-end infotainment and display car information in real time on the screen built into the car’s windshield.

This screen helps the driver not to be distracted while driving, assisting him with details keys like speed, OBD2 port information, navigation maps, electronic digital group, multimedia options and more.

High-end DSP and GPU

Modern infotainment systems are powered by powerful car processors that are capable of displaying content on multiple screens and offer an enhanced in-car experience for driver and passengers.

Operating system

Infotainment needs OSs that are capable of supporting connectivity, as well as various convenience features and software applications that can be downloaded to integrate new features into the system. The infotainment segment is led by OS such as Android, Linux, QNX and Windows.

Compatible with CAN, LVDS and other network protocols

The infotainment systems are interconnected with the hardware components with certain network protocols such as CAN (Controller Area Network) or any other. Network protocol supports allow the entire suite to communicate with each other in applications without the host computer.

Connectivity modules

systems infotainment use GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth modules to be able to communicate with external networks and devices. These allow them to establish services such as navigation, Internet connectivity and integration with Smartphone.

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Integrate car sensors

The sensors found in the car are integrated with the infotainment:

  • proximity sensors.
  • Gesture recognition sensors.
  • Sensors to detect ambient light.
  • camera sensors.
  • Among many others.

These sensors integrate with infotainment to provide safety-related information to the driver and passengers.

digital instruments

State-of-the-art infotainment has evolved car cockpit designs from static screens to digital instruments. Digital instrument clusters include digital displays of traditional analog gauges such as speedometer, RPM, odometer, etc.

Characteristics that infotainment systems must have today

systems infotainment of today must offer the following characteristics:

audio playback

Audio playback is a must-have feature for any home entertainment system. and in the infotainment you can find various audio components. They feature speakers throughout the cabin that play music, podcasts and audiobooks from various sources.

The infotainment can play music from:

  • CD-DVD drive and USB flash drives.
  • Song files stored directly on the system.
  • Streamed directly over the Internet through music apps, podcasts, and audiobooks.

High resolution touch screen monitors

The center of attention of infotainment and that of any information and entertainment system is the screen it has. It allows you to control all the functions of the system, such as managing audio playback or connecting your phone to the system via Bluetooth.

Mobile device and Internet connectivity

The value offer of infotainment is its connectivity, that is, the systems that connect directly to your mobile device and the Internet. Smartphone connectivity enables music playback and data transfer between the two devices.

Navigation system

The touch screen monitor is also used to provide us with information. It is mainly used to access navigation information and guide us on the correct route. This function comes from the system’s built-in functions or third-party applications.

Speech recognition

A feature that has become very popular lately is voice recognition. People are getting used to use their voices to control their smart devices and they hope to do the same with their in-car infotainment systems.

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Given this new trend, which has become demand, manufacturers now are integrating microphones and voice recognition features into their products. With voice recognition in place, you can interact with the system even while you have both hands on the wheel.

The advantages of infotainment systems

Infotainment systems provide access to many functions and features:

  • Through the cameras that the car may have incorporated, it provides us with the information we need.
  • On-screen maps can be used to navigate.
  • Connect your phone to the system and use it hands-free, so you can make calls and receive text messages without looking at your phone.
  • Use voice commands to control functions in the car, where you would normally have to press a button.
  • Just by connecting Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you can access Apps such as Google Maps and Spotify.

New infotainment systems are being developed that incorporate improvements for the safety of the driver and passengers. Since 2018, all cars in the EU are able to connect to emergency systems through E-Call. This forces manufacturers to design cars that can connect to the internet and have a SIM card.

This offers various additional benefits such as live traffic reports, weather forecasts and WiFi hotspots.

Disadvantages of infotainment systems

But nothing in this life is perfect, and infotainment systems have some disadvantages that the old entertainment systems did not:

  • They can be very distracting to the driver, which can be worse than using the phone while driving or even texting.
  • Not all infotainment systems are easy to use, some require too many steps or too complicated menus. Slow responses and some present trouble recognizing voice commands.

About Alicia Peters

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