Infotainment systems—what titos knew as ‘head units’—have grown more and more advanced over the years, and at such a fast pace at that. The latest systems on offer these days already have loads of integrated features that you wouldn’t have found in a supposed ‘high-end’ head unit from, say, half a decade ago.
To keep up with the times, Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) has developed its next-generation multimedia system. Its key features include enhanced navigation, a virtual assistant, user profiles, and over-the-air updates, which we’ll go a bit into detail later. The new system was the work of Toyota’s Connected Technologies group, which is comprised of more than 400 team members and business partners.
“With the new multimedia system, we focused on the needs and wants of the customer and what would enable a more seamless and enjoyable experience on the road,” said TMNA Connected Technologies executive chief engineer and vice president Charan Lota. “We brought multiple groups from electrical engineering to software development and business planning together into one team with one common goal—enhancing the in-vehicle experience.”
“The development of this new system represents a fundamental shift in the way we design products,” said TMNA Connected Technologies global chief UX designer Daniel Hall. “With the adoption of over-the-air (OTA) updates we are able to develop software in smaller, more manageable pieces—with the ability to provide updates to customers even quicker.”
The new multimedia system includes multiple touchscreen options, from 8- to 14-inch displays, all of which have advanced processing capabilities and responsive touch functionality, and, most important, a volume knob. These displays supposedly allow an experience similar to that of using a smartphone.
As mentioned earlier, the system will feature enhanced navigation, which integrates updated Google points of interest data. The data is used when searching for directions, looking for interest, or exploring local businesses through the touchscreen display. The navigation system also makes use of the virtual assistant, which offers voice recognition and thus enables certain voice-activated commands.
User profiles are now also available in the new system. This allows users to personalize their settings and store said settings in the cloud, making it portable from vehicle to vehicle.
The system will also allow the use of a digital key, which is an extension of the user profile feature. This will enable lock/unlock and engine start/stop functions through a dedicated Toyota or Lexus smartphone app.
Another nifty feature of Toyota’s new system is safety connect, which connects drivers with a 24/7 emergency response agent in the event of an emergency, who will in turn request dispatch of emergency services to a vehicle’s exact location. This feature can also be used when locating a stolen vehicle.
“With this new system we are jumping into the future, from larger touchscreens up to 14 inches to having a 100% cloud-navigation for more accurate and faster directions, we are thrilled to deliver this amazing and connected experience to our Toyota and Lexus guests,” said TMNA Connected Technologies group vice president Steve Basra. “We want all of our customers to experience this in-vehicle advancement, and that is why this system will eventually be offered across our vehicle line-up—regardless of screen size or model grade. This is another first in company history.”
Toyota’s new tech will debut for both Lexus and Toyota in the fourth quarter of 2021. Would you like Toyota Motor Philippines to bring these features over to our market, too?
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