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In this digital age, vehicles have evolved beyond being just a means of transportation to becoming mobile entertainment hubs. In-car infotainment systems allow individuals to stay connected, entertained and informed while on the go. However, with the abundance of options available, selecting the appropriate infotainment system for a vehicle can be overwhelming. This comprehensive guide provides everything one needs to know about in-vehicle infotainment systems, including the fundamentals of what an infotainment system entails and the most recent features and technologies available. As a result, readers can join in on exploring the exciting world of infotainment systems in cars.
When purchasing a new vehicle, one may encounter the term “infotainment,” which refers to in-car computer systems that integrate a variety of functions, from digital radios to built-in reversing cameras. These systems, known as in-car infotainment, serve to provide both entertainment and information to the driver and passengers. Typically located in or on the dashboard in the centre of the car, the capabilities of these systems are dependent on the car’s price and specification, with higher-end makes and models offering more advanced digital features.
The system consists of the following main components:
High-end DSPs and GPUs: These powerful processors are designed for advanced infotainment systems capable of displaying content on multiple displays, enhancing the in-car experience.
Heads-Up Display: High-end systems display real-time vehicle information on a transparent screen integrated with the windshield, reducing driver distraction.
Integrated Head-Unit: This is a touchscreen tablet-like device, mounted on the vehicle’s dashboard, acting as a control centre for the infotainment system.
Connectivity Modules: GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules provide connectivity with external networks and devices to offer services like navigation, internet connectivity and smartphone integration.
CAN, LVDS and other network protocol support: The electronic hardware components of infotainment systems are interconnected with standardised communication protocols such as CAN, allowing microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other.
Digital Instrument Cluster: Digital instrument clusters include digital displays of traditional analogue gauges like speedometer, RPM and odometer, revolutionising the automotive cockpit design.
Automotive Sensors Integration: Proximity, gesture recognition and camera sensors integrate with infotainment systems to provide safety-related information.
Operating Systems: Infotainment systems require operating systems like Android, Linux, QNX or Windows to support connectivity and downloadable software applications for new functions.
Here are some common features of the infotainment system in cars:
Drivers can connect their smartphones to the infotainment system via Bluetooth, allowing access to their phone’s capabilities such as managing incoming and outgoing calls or audio streaming via preferred apps.
Most cars with infotainment systems have LCD or TFT touchscreens ranging from 7 to 17 inches in length, providing optimal functionality and displaying on-screen graphics.
Analog and Digital Tuners for Multi-Standard Radio Reception
Infotainment systems include AM/FM or DAB/DAB+ digital radio systems for easy scanning and accessing of available radio stations.
Infotainment systems can connect to HDMI cables and USBs to deliver content to car displays, speakers and headphones. This includes audio formats, pictures and video displays.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay Compatibility
Smartphone pairing allows compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to access supported apps while driving.
Advanced Vehicular Functions
Car models may feature advanced parking assistance systems with rearview cameras, seatback displays for rear-seat passengers, and audio and video entertainment.
Support Vehicle Functions
Infotainment systems can also include safety and support features such as parking sensors and assistance, climate control and daytime running lights (DRL) indicators.
Infotainment systems are controlled by touchscreen displays, voice commands, button panels and other control elements.
Automotive solution providers are concentrating on creating feature-rich, adaptable and powerful processors in response to the increased demand for customised in-car infotainment systems. Processors must offer advanced levels of computing and intelligence within the automobile to deliver an immersive in-car entertainment experience.
Advanced infotainment processors can conduct driver assistance tasks, integrate numerous HD screens and improve in-car entertainment in a networked setting. An infotainment system’s performance is improved by a strong CPU by providing HD colour screens, high-resolution and low-power usage. Top in-car platforms on the market include the following: NXP-MX255 applications processor, Samsung Exynos Auto V9, Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600 processor (Eragon 600 SoM) and TI-Jacinto™ DRAx infotainment SoCs.
In conclusion, in-car infotainment systems have come a long way in recent years, offering a plethora of features and capabilities that make driving more enjoyable and convenient. From high-resolution touch screens to smartphone pairing and advanced vehicular functions, these systems continue to evolve to meet modern drivers’ demands. With the development of powerful processors and innovative technologies, we can expect even more exciting advancements in the world of in-car infotainment shortly.
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