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Car manufacturers team up with phone firms to make car-smartphone integration standard

Smartphone connectivity in cars could soon become standardised after a group of automotive and electronics companies agreed to produce a unified platform.

Daimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and Volkswagen have all signed up to the ‘Car Connectivity Consortium’, and have been joined by handset manufacturers LG, Samsung and Nokia. Further members are expected to join the alliance “within weeks”, and audio suppliers Alpine and Panasonic are also involved.

The scheme aims to provide drivers with an easier and safer way to access their music, search for points of interest and make and receive calls and texts. Users will also be able to access many of the apps stored on their phone, and voice activation will mean they can use their handset’s handsfree functions.

Drivers will be able to use their handset’s user interface on the integrated touchscreen display of their car, meaning the learning curve required to use the system is minimal. This may lead to expensive optional navigation systems in future cars becoming obsolete, with consumers being able to use the sat-nav app on their phone.

USB, WLAN and Bluetooth will be used to connect the phone to the car, and technology such as wireless charging and NFC (which allows short-range wireless connectivity over distances less than 4cm) is also likely to be used.

The ‘open standard’ nature of the technology will mean other manufacturers of operating software (such as Apple and Google) will be able to join the alliance with minimal development costs.Joe Breeze

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