Infotainment Systems of the Future

“The car of the future will be more like a smartphone with wheels than the kind of automobiles we see today. It will be digitally operated and autonomous, and it will need to entertain us too.” — Michael Todd, Global Head of Innovation at Henkel Adhesive Technologies.

Picture this: you get into your car and say “warmer please.” As the vehicle heats up, you state your destination and begin checking your email on one of the multiple screens in front of you while the car leaves your driveway. You look at the list of your day’s appointments on another screen and then decide to lean back and check out a high-definition movie on your way to work. After watching for 10 minutes, followed by a brief nap, you’re dropped off at the door to your office before your car parks itself.

Does this sound more enjoyable than your current commute?

Although we’re not quite there yet, the futuristic-sounding vehicle I described above may be available a lot sooner than you think.

Automakers have already unveiled concept cars with large infotainment systems and connected screens built into the dashboard — and even on the roof — offering a glimpse into the possibilities for the next wave of in-vehicle designs. Once cars are autonomous, drivers will become passengers, thereby enabling people to do other things during their travels.

Many experts believe that the interior of cars will soon resemble the cockpit of airplanes. Most people are already used to consuming data and entertainment on multiple screens, and the expectation to have the same capabilities in their cars is imminent.

In self-driving vehicles, infotainment data and graphics will no longer be restricted to small screens but will instead be projected on multiple displays, including the windshield. The “cockpit” of the future will be capable of providing a vast array of functionality, such as describing what’s around the car and what lies ahead, media streaming, vehicle diagnostics, and many other advanced tasks.

Overall, future infotainment systems will be highly intuitive and customizable. As opposed to being relegated to specific commands, people will be able to speak casually as they would in any other context, with artificial intelligence (AI) software acting as a virtual personal assistant. Some automakers are expected to introduce AI interfaces in new models as soon as next year, providing sophisticated capabilities in infotainment systems to expand upon in the future.

With personalization at the forefront of the next wave of infotainment design, the multiple screens are expected to be a combination of digital displays, IoT, voice control, gesture control, and Bluetooth, all fully integrated with smartphones to provide seamless functionality. From augmented reality (AR) to display maps or other data to a virtual personal assistant with next-level abilities, infotainment systems are poised to make a giant leap forward in the coming period. And we’re ready to jump in!

The author of this blog is Igor Ilunin, head of the IoT practice at technology consultancy DataArt.

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