How Do In-Vehicle Infotainment Systems Work?

Auto Tech Outlook | Monday, October 04, 2021

Modern in-vehicle infotainment systems link to and integrate innovative automotive technology, including ADAS systems, V2X connection solutions, telematics devices, smartphones, and sensors, to deliver an exceptional driving experience.

FREMONT  CA: In-vehicle infotainment is a collection of vehicle components that work together to provide entertainment and information to the driver and passengers via audio/video interfaces, control elements such as touch screen displays, button panels, and voice commands.

To provide entertainment and information to the driver and passengers, in-vehicle infotainment integrates with various in-vehicle and external technologies.

The following are some of the primary components of an in-vehicle infotainment system:

Integrated Head-Unit: An in-car infotainment head unit is a tablet-like device with a touch screen installed on the vehicle’s dashboard. The head unit serves as a seamless control center for the entertainment system with an intuitive user interface.

Heads-Up Display: Automotive heads-up display is a standard feature of high-end infotainment systems that shows real-time vehicle information on a transparent screen incorporated into the car’s windshield. The heads-up display supports the driver in decreasing distractions while driving by providing critical information such as speed, navigation maps, electronic digital cluster (information from the vehicle’s OBD port-II), temperature, and entertainment options.

High-performance DSPs and GPUs to handle numerous displays: The new generation of infotainment systems is driven by strong automotive processors optimized for sophisticated IVI systems. These automotive processors can present material across various screens (e.g., Head-up Display or Windshield, Connected Smartphones, and Head Unit), providing drivers and passengers with an enhanced in-vehicle experience.

Various Operating Systems: In-vehicle infotainment systems require operating systems that enable connection, convenience features, and additional functionalities via downloadable software applications. Android, Linux, QNX, and Windows are the market leaders in the infotainment category.

Support for CAN, LVDS, and other network protocols (as required): The electrical hardware components of infotainment systems communicate via established communication protocols like CAN (Controller Area Network). CAN or other network protocol support enables microcontrollers and devices to interact in applications without a host computer.

Connectivity Modules: To link to external networks and devices, infotainment systems incorporate GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth modules. These modules provide the integration of navigation, internet connectivity, and smartphone functionality into the infotainment system.

Automotive Sensor Integration: Proximity sensors, gesture recognition sensors for sensing ambient light, camera sensors, and various in-vehicle sensors work with infotainment systems to give drivers and passengers safety-related information.

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