Future of Digital Car Cockpit: Infotainment Trends for OEMs
Future of Digital Car Cockpit: Top Infotainment Trends for OEMs to Monitor - Banner

Future of Digital Car Cockpit: Top Infotainment Trends for OEMs to Monitor

Connectivity is changing the value chain in the automotive sector. From innovations in security to semi-autonomous driving functionality, and in-car commerce – the latest tech advancements are helping OEMs vastly improve the driving experience and unlock new revenue streams.

By 2026, the connected vehicle market is predicted to generate $273 billion in revenue for OEMs. In-vehicle infotainment systems will be responsible for a fair share of those revenues too. By the same year, the IVI market is expected to grow to $46 billion – up from $15 billion in 2016.

Such rapid market growth is fueled by several factors:

  • Increased customer demands for connectivity and better driving experience.
  • Gradual commoditization of innovative technologies such as AI/ML, IoT, 5G and V2X communication standard.
  • The inevitable arrival of Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous vehicles, fostering OEMs to come up with new ways for entertaining passengers.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at where the in-vehicle infotainment is heading in the 2020s.

The State of Modern In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) Systems

Today, software already represents 10% of total vehicle content. By 2030, its share will increase to 30% as most OEMs take a course on “making vehicles as smart as mobile phones”. Furthermore, over 125 million connected cars will be shipped to consumers worldwide between 2018 and 2022 with the majority of sales occurring in the US, the UK, and Germany.

Several market leaders including Audi, BMW, Daimler and Honda have already released new-gen IVI systems. During CES 2018, Daimler unveiled a new AI-powered intuitive and intelligent multimedia system (MBUX), developed jointly with NVIDIA. The IVI comes with two dash-mounted displays and can be controlled via touchscreen and touch-control buttons, as well as using voice. Thanks to AI ‘wits,’ the system also progressively learns about the driver’s preferences and common behaviors to personalize the in-car experience.

Indeed, consumers are increasingly demanding more advanced and personalized infotainment features. According to Deloitte’s Automotive Consumer Study 2019, drivers are expressing great interest in the following functionalities:

  • 91% want an on-board smart parking solution that lets check parking availability, book a space and pay for it straight from their dashboard.
  • 86% need access to real-time traffic and navigation updates streamed to their IVI.
  • 86% of respondents are interested in predictive maintenance and personalized care based on their driving habits.
  • 82% want to receive over-the-air (OTA) software updates for in-car IVI systems. If you are wondering how this works, Infopulse previously published a detailed case study.

Automotive companies are already responding to these demands, at least to a certain extent.

Top 4 Trends in Next-Gen IVI System Development

1. Improved ADAS as a Step towards an Autonomous Future

As of May 2018, ADAS was available on nearly 93% of vehicles sold in the US, according to AAA research. The common ADAS features consumers can opt to install across different vehicle segments are as follows:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Blindspot warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance

By 2022, 20 automakers also plan to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on all models for additional security.

Luxury OEMs are also increasingly experimenting with more advanced ADAS functionalities, powered by sensors and computer vision. For instance, some OEMs supplement camera systems with additional radar data and radar sensors. Others go even a step further and deploy sensor-fusion algorithms to scan the environment with higher precision, especially in challenging driving conditions (low light, fog, etc.).

Audi, for instance, released an AI-powered ADAS system back in 2017, and has been continuously improving it ever since. Currently, their latest models come with:

  • Adaptive cruise control that relies on radar sensors and a front camera.
  • Adaptive cruise assist that uses radar sensor in the nose of the vehicle, front camera, laser scanner and ultrasonic sensors for continuous monitoring.
  • Turn, hold, collision avoidance and active lane assists.
  • Curb and exit warnings among others.

Hyundai also made significant progress in improving its ADAS suite over the last several years. The Hyundai SmartSense system comes with lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, forward collision-avoidance assist, high beam assist, along with other features.

State-of-the-art ADAS is an integral step towards reaching Level 4 and ultimately Level 5 autonomy. Per PwC estimates, AV personal use adoption will start happening in the early 2030s.

2. Personalized Smart Digital Cockpit

Market leaders are pioneering with improved digital cockpit experience for drivers, powered by all-touch multi-screen experience, voice control and a higher degree of personalization.

BMW recently introduced three virtual cockpit options for BMW X5 and athe new BMW 8 Series, that providing es a more personalized, less distracted driving experience:

Samsung, together with Harman also presented an innovative digital cockpit prototype during CES 2019. While BMW placed an accent on improving the driving, Samsung is showing how technology can fundamentally reshape the in-car experience for everyone on board.

The company increased the number of in-car displays to six, so that additional infotainment options could be delivered to the passengers both in the front and in the rear. Intelligent Driver Monitoring System (DMS) and Occupant Monitoring System (OMS) progressively learn to recognize different passengers and personalize the in-car experience accordingly e.g. adjust seat position and screen preferences.

Moreover, they added a conversational AI platform to the cockpit allowing passengers to interact with in-car and 3rd-party apps via voice. Samsung also indicated they plan to support a wider range of car-to-home interactions by standardizing data exchanges between the smart home appliances and on-board IVI. In the future, drivers may become capable of remotely changing their thermostat as they approach home, receiving reminders from their fridge to buy groceries.

KIA introduced another curious innovation for in-car infotainment – Separated Sound Zone (SSZ) tech.

SSZ lets every passenger stream a custom audio feed without interfering with the others. The solution intelligently controls different acoustic fields of the car and isolates sounds. In short, they managed to create an effective noise-canceling system without needing headphones.

AR-powered navigation is another common element of future infotainment systems. Hyundai and Porshe, together with WayRay – a startup specializing in AR solutions – hosted a demo of a holographic augmented reality navigation system projecting driving instructions straight on the windshield.

Numerous OEMs including BMW, Mazda, Toyota, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and MINI among others opted to deliver AR-powered driving experience via Heads- uUp displays Displays (HUDs) that showcase navigation prompts, present key driving data and suggest infotainment options.

To sum up, we believe that the following elements will constitute the core of a smart and personalized digital cockpit in the 2020s:

  • Multiple, all-touch display support including HUDs, passenger display and windshield projections.
  • Advanced control systems, powered by sensors,/ cameras, and as well as those voice voice-activated.
  • Intuitive, data-rich navigation, powered by AR.
  • Personalized content consumption options for every passenger.

3. Android Automotive OS is Gaining Traction

Android Automotive – an OS designed to be natively incorporated into cars – received a major design overhaul in 2019, right after the annual Google I/O. The company also released a new set of design guidelines and made several improvements to the development process. They added Wizard support to Android Studio and upgraded the Android Auto OS emulator system image to include Google Play Store. All of this is a clear nod to potential automotives who may want to consider integrating Automotive OS.

So far, media app developers are among the early entrants to the Android Auto ecosystem with Amazon Music, Audioburst and YouTube Music adapting their apps to this OS.

As for OEMs, Volvo has become the first manufacturer to introduce a new infotainment system powered by Android Auto with built-in Google tech within their upcoming fully electric Volvo XC40. The new IVI system is fully integrated with the Android platform and offers instant access to Google Assistant, Google Maps and an array of apps from Google Play Store.

“We are finally giving you the same experience in your car that you’re used to on your phone, but adapted for safe interaction while driving. And by introducing over-the-air updates for everything from maintenance to completely new features, the car can stay as fresh as your other digital products, always with the latest and greatest features,” – said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars.

Indeed, there are several major advantages to using Android Auto instead of developing a custom IVI OS:

  • Android OS is familiar to a lot of customers, as well as app developers.
  • The ecosystem is already populated with an array of apps drivers regularly use.
  • Google Assistant integration can be further expanded to incorporate car-to-home and home-to-car connectivity.

4. In-Car Commerce and On-Demand Connected Car Services Will Create Additional Revenue Streams

Drivers are already spending an estimated $212 billion a year on in-vehicle purchases. However, most OEMs are not capturing any revenues from in-car commerce because the sales occur via mobile devices and 3rd party apps, rather than native applications offered in the infotainment system.

One of the early entrants into the connected car commerce space is GM. Last year, the company released a new marketplace app that enables users to place advance drive-thru orders with selected retailers (Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts), pay for fuel, make hotel and dinner reservations.

Honda recently signed a partnership with Visa. Together, they are working on adding a new commerce functionality to the Honda Dream Drive IVI system.

We further discuss the use cases of in-car payments in this post.

On-demand in-car services is another upcoming trend in infotainment. For instance, as many as 44% of US consumers are interested in having an app that would allow secure deliveries in their truck.

In-dashboard access to road-sideroadside assistance is another highly requested feature. Such connected apps can gauge data from the vehicle and transmit it to the maintenance team so that they could arrive well-preparedwell prepared. In addition, this will allow you to provide greater remote assistance to the driver to conduct smaller repairs on the spot.

Furthermore, these apps can incorporate extended safety functionalities and simplify the process of reporting an accident and alerting emergency services.

To Sum Up

To design a future-proof IVI system, OEMs need to understand what type of technology is coming to the fore and how customer demands are changing. Early prototypes presented today already indicate the extent to which the driving experience can be improved with the help of AI, VR, IoT, and in-car payment technology.

The Infopulse team – a trusted software partner to automotive leaders – would be delighted to further advise you on infotainment system development, and new connected car solutions. Get in touch with us for a free consultation!

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