TuneIn Radio, which has become a powerhouse in streaming local radio content, is now ramping up efforts to bring its service to cars with a new Ford Sync AppLink integration and an updated Android app with voice-controlled “car mode.”
The electric car has encountered a number of hurdles in its ongoing path to the mainstream, and they haven’t all been technical. More human challenges, like range anxiety, have served as hindrances in the wide-scale consumer adoption of electric vehicles (EVs.)
As big carmakers move more and more into the electric vehicle market, engineers are working overtime to develop applications that will help ease customers’ minds and smooth the transition to EVs, representatives from Ford Motor Company and vehicle technology firm OnStar said in a panel at Thursday’s Green:Tech 2011 conference.
“When we did development of the [first Ford] electric vehicle, we discovered that the EV requires a different level of connectivity,” Edward Pleet, a business development manager in Ford’s connected services organization, said.
Providing consumers with in-depth information about their vehicles creates a positive feedback loop that benefits both car drivers and the environment. “With better choices, people will make better decisions,” said Nick Pudar, the business development VP at OnStar, which develops technology for General Motors.
While many industries, including healthcare, have benefitted from opening up to using independently developed applications, it may be a while before developers can hack out new apps for cars. “We’re very interested in making available appropriate APIs for third party developers,” Pudar said. “[But] our primary objective is to ensure vehicle operation is safe and secure.”
But amid all the opportunities to develop new apps, carmakers have to be careful to not alienating consumers with too much technology at once. “The key is keeping it simple for the consumer,” Pleet noted. “If the process is [too] complex, at that point, people check out.”
When it came time for Nissan to set specifications for the infotainment system in its electric LEAF sedan, the automaker wanted two things: more info, less “tainment.” Turns out Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Auto fit the bill. Might a Hohm-LEAF connection be in their future?
MyFord Touch, the latest generation of SYNC, raises the number of voice commands from 100 to 10,000 first-level commands. How did Ford increase the platform’s vocabulary a hundred-fold? The use of aliases, which allow for a more conversational experience, play a big factor in the solution.
Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla have just turbo charged diesel engine startup EcoMotors International with a “substantial” amount of second-round financing. EcoMotors announced today that Khosla’s venture capital firm Khosla Ventures and Gates are the “two exclusive investors” in this round.
Today Nissan popped the hood on five vehicle technologies set for deployment in the 2010 fiscal year, offering a glimpse of some of the oft-overlooked tools for reducing vehicle emissions long before electric cars go mainstream.
Ford is creating a new mobile application developer network to partner with developers and entice them to use functionality to support Sync AppLink. By adding a vehicle interface to smartphone apps, mobile software programmers could benefit from greater demand for their software.
In its latest move to woo third-party developers and the consumers who buy their apps, Ford today says it has launched a “developer network” for its Sync communication platform, and plans to let drivers control smartphone apps using the Sync interface next year.
With today’s agreement to purchase QNX Software Solutions, Research In Motion continues to look beyond the smartphone, as the connected car market begins to rev up. Consumers are already adopting these products in vehicles and RIM is preparing to ride along.
Now that Pandora, a next-generation online music streaming service, has turned its first quarterly profit, the Oakland, Calif.-based company is looking at life beyond the web. And by doing so, Pandora is moving to embody what’s being called the device-agnostic Internet.