Infotainment: What Is It?

Automotive infotainment refers to an in-car system that mixes driving information, such as GPS, ADAS, and vehicle settings, with entertainment options like music and radio. A high-resolution display serves as the interface for a contemporary infotainment system. Usually, this will be a touchscreen, but a lot of automakers still include other ways to interface, such a joystick or wheel, which don’t need placing your fingers directly on the screen.

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The advantages of infotainment

Systems that divide these duties can’t match the feature-rich capabilities of an infotainment system. Because software, rather than hardware, is primarily responsible for the characteristics of this system, it may also be expanded more readily than other systems. This implies that, for instance, a software update or the option to view internet videos (while the car is immobile) may introduce a new music streaming service. Features already in place can be improved. A conceivable app ecosystem is similar to that of a smartphone.

Simplifying is one advantage of this concentration to automakers. Rather than several discrete hardware components from various manufacturers that need to be combined, there is a single central hardware platform. This will be fed data from various in-car sensors, including cameras, GPS, and other units, which will then be integrated via software into the infotainment system. After that, they may be shown a single interface.

Operating these functionalities is made easier for the driver when all information and entertainment are accessible on a single screen. Additionally, rather than requiring drivers to master control schemes exclusive to a particular car manufacturer, the functionalities will be available through interfaces more akin to those seen on smartphones and other computer devices.

While the majority of cars still have a conventional instrument binnacle, it is becoming more and more integrated with the infotainment system. Information that matches data from the infotainment system, such as navigation directions and maps or specifics of any music or radio stations playing, may be accessed through the digital cockpit, which includes a head-up display.

Information Technology Function Examples

Among the many tasks that automotive infotainment systems are capable of are the following:

radio communication

playing audio files stored locally

utilizing a streaming service to play music

Displaying videos in real time

Navigation with real-time traffic updates

smartphone communication without using your hands

Internet connectivity

Telematics, which includes data on electric range and driving efficiency

Mirroring from smartphones using Android AutoTM, Apple CarPlay®, or MirrorLink

Engine power and ADAS settings configuration

Controlling the climate visually

Voice-activated controls for cars

How Information Is Provided

The most sophisticated infotainment systems rely just on a single, powerful piece of technology to power all of its operations. However, a single piece of underlying hardware may nonetheless power a variety of unrelated systems, some of which may even run distinct operating systems. automobile virtualization does this by using an automobile hypervisor to operate each function or related group of functions (such playing music and radio files) in a separate virtual computer.

This implies that elements that are more entertainment-focused and mission-critical, like ADAS, may be kept apart to prevent interference. It is also possible to give the navigation system processing priority over entertainment because it needs more frequent real-time updates to ensure you don’t miss your turn. Through the QNX® Hypervisor and QNX® Hypervisor for Safety, a virtualized automotive real-time operating system, such as the QNX® Neutrino® Real-Time Operating System (RTOS), may operate concurrently alongside various platforms, such as Android Automotive.

Infotainment in contrast to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Car infotainment is provided by the car itself. The infotainment hardware’s native program will operate even if it provides material from a third party, such a music streaming service. The infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto essentially acts as a touchscreen interface for a smartphone, allowing important apps to be operated via the car’s display. The GPS receiver in the automobile may also send data to the smartphone.

Although these mirroring technologies let drivers utilize well-known smartphone applications like navigation and mapping, they won’t communicate directly with automobile systems. For instance, when an EV detects that stopping at a nearby charging station would be necessary due to its remaining range, it won’t be able to do so.