Car infotainment systems are a key source of differentiation for automotive manufacturers. According to a recent survey, 71% of automotive experts predict that vehicle interiors will become increasingly important in car design in the coming years. Car makers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are driving the development of new, never-before-seen passenger experiences by leveraging user-centric, in-car technology and cross-industry collaboration. By 2030, the car infotainment market is expected to be worth $15.1 billion.

Next-generation car infotainment systems are transforming the in-car experience similar to how smart TVs and smartphones changed how we use TVs and mobile phones. As every car maker races to become the leader in auto infotainment systems, car manufacturers and telecommunications companies are already suing one another. Furthermore, now that advanced infotainment systems are a standard feature in new cars, government regulation is likely on the horizon. What’s more, established smartphone platforms like Android and iOS are already building for the in-car experience with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.


Autonomous Driving Is Changing the In-car Experience

Automakers no longer sell cars by emphasizing traditional automotive features, such as powertrains, exterior design, and engine performance. Instead, car makers are now focusing on making the cabin experience more comfortable and immersive for passengers as a means of differentiating their cars from the competition in the eyes of consumers. 


Who Is Leading the Car Infotainment System Race?

Mercedes, considered the leader by autoblog in luxury auto infotainment systems, recently introduced their MBUX Hyperscreen infotainment system. MBUX utilizes Zero Layer, an AI-powered technology that suggests actions based on previous user actions, time of day, and location. With MBUX, car passengers can share information between their screens. MBUX is also considered as the top voice assistant among auto infotainment systems for 2022.

Among non-luxury vehicles, Kia’s UVO and Hyundai’s Blue Link infotainment systems were ranked highly by CARFAX for ease of operation and intuitive visual design. Kia’s UVO offers a Parking Minder feature that reminds drivers where they parked. UVO also gives Kia PHEV and EV owners access to a vehicle charging schedule and energy usage data so that they can make informed decisions on managing battery-dependent car functions such as climate control. Hyundai’s Blue Link allows drivers to perform a full diagnostic check and schedule service appointments directly from the infotainment screen.


What’s Next?

Currently, there are specific trends that we see in car infotainment systems as in-car technology evolves:


With an estimated 470 million connected vehicles expected to be on the road by 2025, car makers are introducing subscription models for their auto infotainment systems. Already Android Auto and Apple CarPlay allow consumers access to their favorite phone apps from their car infotainment systems. Soon, there will be a new market for apps and subscription services that are specifically designed for connected cars.

Vehicle As a Data Platform

OEMs have introduced human-machine-interface (HMI) systems that incorporate connectivity and shared services in order to compete with car makers’ native car infotainment systems. By creating personalized, in-car experiences developed through data across car makes and models, OEMs can compete against all car manufacturers. As a result, OEMs will lead the way in vehicle as a data platform innovation. 

5G Patents

Car makers are already battling with telecommunications providers regarding 5G patents. Google has obtained patents regarding 5G connectivity for connected cars. Qualcomm, Nokia, and 46 other telecom companies have demanded that Toyota, Honda, and Nissan pay them patent fees for the components used in car internet connectivity, as well as, the hardware itself. These 48 companies account for roughly 70% of the 4G communication technology patents which are considered essential to the development of internet-connected cars. Furthermore, with the coming OS standardization of infotainment systems as the market matures, 5G patent disputes will remain a key legal challenge for car makers. 


Infotainment Systems Face Regulatory Uncertainty

Governments are taking notice of infotainment systems. Car infotainment systems are installed by car makers in nearly every new car despite the fact that they come along with a myriad of privacy, security, and safety risks. With governments already taking notice of AI technologies, in-vehicle infotainment system manufacturers should expect to face regulatory action, at minimum, for the potential of vehicle infotainment systems to create distracted driving conditions. The regulatory environment that car makers soon may find themselves in over infotainment systems draws parallels to what smart TV and smartphone manufacturers faced a decade ago. 


Sidespin Group Provides Car Infotainment System Experts 

As car infotainment systems evolve, automotive manufacturers are increasingly relying on infotainment system experts and expert witnesses in patent infringement litigation. At Sidespin Group, our connected vehicle technology experts can help with market insights, trends analysis, auto infotainment system patent litigation and trade secret misappropriation.