Infotainment: Successes and Challenges

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In reviewing the 10 best car infotainment systems, AutoGuide gave high marks for Ford for its MyFord Touch system. Specifically, they praised the voice activation feature, saying that it “practically makes every function of the infotainment system accessible to you without having to take your hands off the steering wheel or your eyes off the road.”

Infotainment Systems are those little computer screens and buttons on the dashboard between the driver and passenger side of your car. Usually they provide electronic mapping and GPS direction information for drivers, along with offering connectivity to internet radio, mp3, and other entertainment features for everyone riding in the vehicle. This fusion of information and entertainment has led to the creation of the term “infotainment.”

Most automakers offer infotainment systems in their latest models. Each system, though having the same basic design, are none the less different from another. They offer different features and providing varying quality on different elements of the overall design of an infotainment system.

The value of MyFord Touch voice activation system is in the ease of use—the user doesn’t have touch anything or take his eyes off the road to use it. As a driver, this can be the most important feature to look for when evaluating infotainment systems.

Another example would be BMW’s iDrive system. The infotainment screen offers high-resolution visuals, 1280×480 pixels, along with 3D maps and sliding animations. The controls for the system are accessed through a small knob with surrounding buttons located by the gear shift for ease of use.

There are also challenges that many of these systems face, among them are slow response to user commands and system errors.

Looking at MyFord Touch again, although the voice activation feature is well regarded; it is also plagued with malfunctions and errors, leading to negative feedback and complaints from owners. Kia’s infotainment system, UVO, has also developed a reputation, according to AutoGuide, as “frustratingly slow to respond.”

Another problem for driver’s with these systems are interfaces that can be complicated and confusing for the driver.

Infiniti’s InTouch system; which is well regarded because of features that allow drivers to access email, social media, and Google apps; has a dual screen system where one display is controlled via a touch-screen, while the other is controlled via a knob. This has been cited as both confusing and distracting.

Likewise, Mazda’s Connect system, which has very positive marks for its interface that includes both a touch-screen and knob setup, unfortunately also it has complaints for some of its basic functions that have been cited as needlessly complicated in light of other automaker systems.

dashlinq blogAt GROM Audio, we are constantly looking at these details in infotainment systems. The successes and challenges in those systems can also be reflected in our car audio kits. The ability to enhance driver information and entertainment services are a both new and constantly evolving form of technology. This is the case both in on board infotainment systems or external hand-held device, made more accessible through GROM’s car kits.


GROM Audio is committed to continually studying this emerging technology to create car kits that offer the best and safest experience for our customers.