Automotive

Honda Connect puts Android and Nvidia tech into dashboards

Honda Connect puts Android and...
The new infotainment systems are powered by Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor
The new infotainment systems are powered by Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor
View 1 Image
The new infotainment systems are powered by Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor
1/1
The new infotainment systems are powered by Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor

Honda has announced plans to put 7-inch Android-powered infotainment systems in a number of its 2015 cars. So far only announced for Europe, the new systems are known as Honda Connect, and will have access to a purpose-built app store.

Earlier this year Google teamed up with a number of car manufacturers, as well as chip-maker Nvidia, to form the Open Automotive Alliance, with the goal of making Android commonplace on dashboards. Honda’s announcement makes good on that promise, putting a 7-in panel in the central console of its 2015 Civic, Civic Tourer and CR-V models.

The systems don’t run the latest KitKat flavor of Android, but instead make do with version 4.0.4 of the OS (yep, that's Ice Cream Sandwich, which was last updated two and half years ago). They’re powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip, and come pre-loaded with apps such as radio service Aha and (optionally) Garmin satellite navigation. There’s no Google Play Store access here (looks like your dreams of playing Candy Crush Saga on your Honda's dashboard will probably have to wait), but users can download additional apps from the Honda App Center.

According to Nvidia, interacting with the 7-in display presents a similar experience to what you would expect from an Android phone or tablet, and the home screen can be customized to suit the owner. Like other modern dashboards, users will be able to connect their smartphones to the system via Bluetooth, sharing its cellular connection and make hands-free calls. But here they can also mirror content onto the larger screen, provided they're using Android phones.

The systems will also have integrated features such as rear-view parking cameras with dynamic guidelines, as well as fuel economy, journey time and trip meter info. And, hey, if you aren't completely ready to part ways with 1990s-era dashboard systems, you can still pop one of your old Pearl Jam CDs into an (optional) CD player.

Source: Honda, Nvidia

1 comment
Mel Tisdale
One could be forgiven for thinking that all the research into the dangers posed by driver distraction has been as nought. Whilst focussed on mobile phone use, it provided useful lessons applicable over a much wider range of devices and circumstances. The idea of anyone doing anything that might distract them while in charge of a motor vehicle is difficult to comprehend. That supposedly responsible manufacturers and a popular search engine company could provide the wherewithal for such behaviour takes some swallowing. Had it been the popular search engine company on its own, then that could possibly be seen as par for the course. Whilst I cannot see driverless cars ever becoming the norm, we owe to those working on the notion to give it a go. This is going to require a lot of support from various authorities and official bodies. Where are the news items about V2V communication? What standard is going to apply to wireless transmission of traffic light signalling status? What is happening on standardising sat-nav maps and the inclusion of width and height restrictions, not to mention automatic inclusion of road works and other disruptive issues? How will the Highways Agencies feed into sat-navs the occurrence of accidents and other such unplanned disruptions? Surely we need standards for the above to work globally. We need to be able to take a driverless motor vehicle anywhere in the world and for it to work with the systems that have been adopted locally. As an afterthought, will it be possible to disable a stolen car upon the theft being reported, and how would it be done safely? If driverless cars are going to be ubiquitous, then they are going to face a twenty-year period of living with 'normal' cars on the same roads until they have all been scrapped. What plans are there for how the two breeds, so to speak, will co-habit the road systems? I imagine that there will be a requirement to retro fit some device that facilitates the process. Who will pay? So, there are a lot of questions that must be answered before driverless cars can be fully accepted. The above is far from being a comprehensive list. Playing with entertainment systems is only a distraction from seeking those answers. But, as these people so readily show us, they don't care much about distractions, even for those in control of killing machines called cars and lorries (or trucks on the other side of the pond). On reflection, I might be being a bit harsh, I certainly hope so.