DETROIT -- With shorter life cycles, navigation and other features on phones tend to be more advanced than those found in cars. During the Detroit auto show, Panasonic showed off head unit concepts with navigation and entertainment powered by a connected phone.
Panasonic had on hand a head unit running its own, embedded infotainment system, one showing Android phone integration through, and a third also running navigation from an Android phone, but this one connected through .
With both the MirrorLink and CloudCar implementations, navigation and entertainment functions running on the phone were translated to an appropriate interface for the automotive head unit. A driver could control these functions through the head unit's touch screen or voice command. Although the processing would happen on the phone, the driver wouldn't need to touch it, and so the phone wouldn't be a distraction.
A Panasonic spokesperson explained that the MirrorLink standard was more primitive than that offered by CloudCar. The latter uses the H.264 video compression standard, porting and translating the video output from the phone.
Panasonic is also working with Apple on, announced with iOS 7. However, Apple would not let Panasonic show that implementation, as it is still very much in development.
For a production vehicle, an automaker would likely implement both iOS in the Car and CloudCar, or one of the other Android implementations, so users of either type of phone would have navigation and entertainment in the car.
Panasonic is one of the largest tier-one suppliers to the automotive industry, offering a variety of infotainment head units to automakers. These phone-powered demonstration units served to show automakers what Panasonic can do. A phone-powered system would likely go into an economy car, which might not have an embedded system.
A Panasonic spokesperson said the likely timeline for implementation of a phone-powered system would be in a 2016-model-year vehicle, which would launch in 2015.