New car dashboard interfaces at CES 2014 (pictures)
Automakers and equipment suppliers had new dashboard concepts, heavy on LCDs and app support, to show at CES 2014.
Chevrolet App Shop
GM demonstrated the new App Shop, an app platform to be launched in Chevrolet vehicles equipped with the MyLink infortainment system. Just like a smartphone, a Chevy owner will be able to browse a number of apps, and choose which to install.
Garmin showed off its K2 infotainment system, which it will offer to automakers. The interface, designed to be easy to use and to make information flow smoothly, has tricks such as a panel of driver-customizable shortcuts that can be brought up from any screen.
Harman, a major automotive supplier, had this infotainment concept to show. The company emphasized its security, as it uses virtual machines running on the hardware to sandbox different vehicle functions.
This prototype included an app platform, using HTML5 as its interface language. The system requires authentication for any apps loaded onto the car, and carefully controls information requests from car to app, to ensure no malicious software gets through.
QNX, which supplies an array of connectivity software to automakers, showed a prototype of its CAR2 platform installed in a Mercedes-Benz GLA model. To demonstrate the flexibility of the platform, it was shown running apps written in HTML5 as well as Android apps, the latter installed on an Android runtime component.
Automotive supplier Delphi used an infotainment interface built into a Fiat 500L to demonstrate some different voice command technologies. The system included Apple's Siri Eyes Free, letting the driver push a button and initiate off-board Siri voice processing. However, it also had a pass-through for Google Now, the voice command feature on Android. Trumping those systems with much faster processing and response, was an embedded voice system that allowed natural language commands.
One of Delphi's partners, CloudCar, showed off an infotainment system that used a connected smartphone as its engine. With the phone connected to the car through Wi-Fi, CloudCar used a video compression technology to ingest and translate the screen for the car's LCD. This type of system would allow many functions from the phone to show up in the car's dashboard.
Mazda worked with partner OpenCar to show what future app integration might look like. The OpenCar platform supports apps written in HTML5, allowing rapid development. A developer could download the Mazda OpenCar SDK, which includes APIs for voice command, dashboard buttons, and even the car's CAN Bus data.