A potential customer walks into a showroom and leaves having purchased one of the latest car models. They are thrilled with their new purchase and are excited to start using it on the road. However, during their first drive, they start noticing that the map in their infotainment system is not completely up to date – it is already one year old.
Faced with a choice, the once happy customer will either relieve themselves of a few hundred euros for their dealership to update the map on their in-dash navigation system or, perhaps more commonly, will stop using that map altogether and start relying on their smartphone instead.
While far from ideal, this scenario happens every day on roads across the world. Embedded, -offline navigation can only take drivers so far, especially when the alternative is the always up-to-date map on a smartphone that is always connected to the internet.
Let’s have a look at the top three pain points that carmakers are facing with embedded navigation today, and what the solution is for each of them:
1. Systems that fall behind reality: maps and software
When faced with the choice between outdated maps and a smartphone with connectivity and accurate location services, it is easy to see why as drivers we might neglect in-vehicle technology in favor of mobile devices.
For car manufacturers who spend valuable time, money and effort developing specifically customized embedded navigation for each new car model released, outdated navigation software can have even more frustrating results.
Carmakers can pour resources into an attractive and intuitive user interface but if drivers find the navigation to be outdated, they will be less likely to give their five-star approval. After all, you don’t buy a newly released smartphone and expect the software to be years out of date. For the success of a new vehicle release, navigation cannot lag behind.
Even more importantly, OEMs invest in customers’ safety. Drivers who neglect embedded navigation systems due to outdated software cannot take full advantage of assisted driving safety features like speed limit and hazard warnings, all features that require an up to date navigation map.
Car manufacturers have invested in a variety of IVI features to ensure drivers use their navigation systems in the safest way possible. An easy-to-use user interface, large screens, seamless destination entry through voice controls are all designed to keep distractions at a minimum.
Using smartphones instead poses a very real danger to those on the road. Not only does the small screen add to the growing number of in-vehicle distractions through incoming notifications, in many cases it is often illegal.
Today, people expect the entire navigation system to be always up to date. This is by far the most important aspect of embedded navigation. If information is accurate and up to date, people will leave the smartphones in the pocket.
2. Longer software development cycles
So why are embedded navigation systems so outdated compared to mobile devices? The answer lies in the discrepancy between the development cycles of software for consumer electronics in comparison to automotive products.
Software development for devices such as smartphones is a relatively simple process that takes approximately six months. Updates are deployed automatically over-the-air (OTA) so although consumers may not notice the update happening, an up-to-date and responsive system has become standard.
OEMs, on the other hand, take around two to three years to develop infotainment systems. This process of software development is not only complex but can prove extremely costly. Unfinished infotainment systems can delay the release of new car lines that result in large and unnecessary revenue losses.
As safety is a main focus of automotive industries, longer software development cycles are inevitable.
If your smartphone software crashes it may be annoying, but it will not compromise your physical safety. If an infotainment system crashes, it is deeply integrated into the vehicle and car makers must be certain that no other vehicle functions will be impacted. Car manufacturers must carry out a variety of tests to ensure that the driver’s safety is always the first priority.
As customer expectations continue to rise with the quality and connectivity of everyday consumer electronics, the automotive industry must keep up.
Drivers demand a similar experience throughout their devices. As consumers come to expect functions like automatic updates from their everyday devices, they also expect this from in-vehicle navigation. Taking a vehicle to a dealer to update navigation systems may seem old-fashioned and the user will simply disregard the option in favor of a simpler solution.