TomTom IndiGO will allow carmakers to easily and simply integrate entertainment apps as part of the in-vehicle experience. Music can be played with a simple Alexa command.
On top of that, the platform can be designed and built as carmakers require, it can have their brand become part of the experience.
Being a modular platform, TomTom IndiGO is essentially a foundational set of building blocks that allow developers to build their digital cockpits based on what their drivers need. However, as it’s also an open platform, developers are empowered to build components they require. Carmakers can specialize their experiences with almost no limits. Third-party developers are also welcome to develop apps and features for TomTom IndiGO too.
Why develop an all-in-one in-car platform?
It’s clear that a platform like TomTom IndiGO will help carmakers bring drivers better in-vehicle experiences. When I say better, what I mean is: more modern, more engaging, easier to understand and continually up to date. It’s something that all carmakers are striving for but has remained out of reach for many due to the constraints of car making, production processes and the complexities associated with tying vehicle software to vehicle hardware.
As Antoine Saucier, TomTom’s managing director of automotive said during the TomTom IndiGO reveal, “Many carmakers freeze the definition of the car more than a year before its produced and then delivered. The latest innovations are left on the side of the road and have to wait for the next facelift or car models to be introduced.”
To make matters worse, current systems for the most part, aren’t designed to be updated regularly. Traditionally, vehicle updates had to be done at a service center.
As TomTom’s VP of UX design Sonja Radenkovic added, “Systems are delivered once, and remain static and unchanged.”
However, as technology in other parts of our lives has developed at a rapid pace, driver expectations have moved on. We want everything to be connected. We want integration, not a random assortment of disconnected apps fighting for screen space. We want our digital lives to be supported everywhere, on our phones, on our tablets, on our laptops, on our TVs, and now, in our cars. But that’s not easy.
“It’s common for us to move from tablet to mobile phone to laptop to the car and back,” TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn said. “Designing a user experience for drivers is challenging… we want things to work as they work on other devices, but driving a car is very different from operating a mobile phone.”
A single system, integrated
There are solutions on the market that do a good job of presenting a phone’s features and interface on a vehicle’s infotainment screen, but these aren’t native to the vehicle. These kinds of systems run on top of the vehicle’s main interface, and bring basic phone functionalities to the vehicle spread across various apps.
They are still very much separate from the vehicle. While they might bring familiar navigation or entertainment apps to the vehicle’s main screen, they can’t provide an interface to control core features of the car such as heated seats, air conditioning or ADAS functions. It’s all a bit disconnected.
What’s more, as we take our digital lives into our cars, we need to be mindful of privacy. We know how valuable data can be, the impact it can have on individuals and society when it’s manipulated. Driving is an incredibly personal experience; our car goes where we go. It’s possible to infer a lot about a person based on how they drive, where they drive and when they drive. It’s important that that data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
TomTom says TomTom IndiGO is going to solve all of that.
From the ground up, TomTom IndiGO is designed to integrate with our phones. Rather than seeing a host of competing apps on the screens of our digital cockpits, with TomTom IndiGO the vehicle will integrate with our digital lives while also recognizing the fact that we’re driving a car – a task which comes with its own host of specialist user interface requirements.