Technology in vehicles is not exactly a new idea. In fact, the integration of mobile operating systems in cars has been around for quite some time. Today however, Apple Inc. and Honda are advancing in-car technology with a focus on familiarity and safety.
The vehicles that will first receive these tech makeovers will be the 2014 Honda Civic, which will go on sale tomorrow and the 2015 Honda Fit.
There will be two distinct forms of iOS integration that make up the new upgrades. The first is Display Audio. Utilizing a larger 7 inch display, smartphone styled icons and gestures identical to Apple's iDevices, customers will feel right at home on the touchscreen.
According to the Honda Media Newsroom website, using the system requires an Apple iPhone 5 or higher and connects the user with one or more of four new HondaLink apps:
- Connect App – Provides convenient access for many services including location searches, local weather, messaging, Maintenance Minder alerts, service scheduling by phone, and access to the Owners Guide. Users can tap for weather updates and store favorite destinations for quick routing with the Navigation app.
- Navigation App – For the first time Honda is offering a comprehensive cloud-based navigation app for purchase2 that includes 3D mapping and continuously updated traffic information. As the first navigation app developed by an automaker with mapping data provided by HERE, a Nokia business, this app offers a variety of location search options including search by point of interest, text search, or previous locations. Routes can be pre-planned on a smartphone and will display on the vehicle's touchscreen. Turn-by-turn routing guidance is available through the vehicle's audio system as well.
- Aha App – provides access to an extensive and diverse selection of audio content across multiple genres and demographics, plus featured new stations, Internet radio, podcasts, audiobooks, news, Twitter and Facebook updates and nearby location listings for restaurants, coffee houses, hotels, weather, parks, and gas stations. Users can tap to personalize stations or add favorites via smartphone or directly through the Display Audio interface.
- Launcher App – Finds and organizes Honda-approved 3rd party apps so they can be quickly integrated into the Display Audio system. Approved apps can be found through the Launcher and shown on the Display Audio screen for easy access.
Honda does note that an Android version is in the works for next year, but no mention of Windows phone.
With it, Siri Eyes Free allows users the ability to send and receive text and emails, get sports score and even check the weather... all without looking at their phones or car displays. Although this technology is not new to vehicles, the integration with a mobile operating system along side an auto makers' software is.
On a side note, Siri Eyes Free will be available as a dealer installed option on 2013-2014 Honda Accord and 2013 Acura RDX and ILX models.