Technology has advanced and, with this, we no longer need to put our tapes into the deck and feel the frustration of having to flip sides – we don’t even need to stack CDs into the glove compartment on rotation. The question is, what does in-car entertainment look like now and what makes it so great? Throughout this article, we break down what in-car entertainment systems look like and outline the leading manufacturers in the business.
But What Are In-Car Entertainment Systems?
Anything in your car that provides audio or video can be categorised under the umbrella of in-car entertainment (ICE) systems. When your car assistant talks to you: ICE. When you use that fancy touch screen display, with all its useful apps: ICE. Another phrase used to describe ICE systems is in-car infotainment (IVI) systems. Even connectivity sources, like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi fall under the umbrella. You’d certainly never miss out on your favourite game again – but keep your eyes on the road.
When it comes to affordability, Chrysler’s Uconnect is leading the pack, but it will still set you back some heavy dollars. Boasting an 8.4ʺ touch screen in most generic cars, you’ll benefit from pristine graphics with all of the essential apps from the Apple or Android auto stores. Chrysler steps up their game and modifies the tech in an attempt to model match. For example, their minivan series comes packed with rear-seat entertainment to keep the entire family occupied.
Sounding like something straight out of the Apple store, BMW was one of the first manufacturers to incorporate a fully integrated in-car entertainment system. The tech includes a joystick-type controller to help drivers navigate the touchscreen, as opposed to constantly tapping the screen, meaning there’s more time to focus on important things like the road. This year, exciting developments are happening at BMW, with 5G connectivity and Android Auto hitting the iDrive. Previously, the standard system was Apple CarPlay – which is no surprise with a name like iDrive.
No car list would be complete without the inclusion of Mercedes-Benz, which may as well just spell unattainable luxury. Including options for both Android and Apple CarPlay, the tech has a quality voice assistant that reacts reliably to natural speech. The display is crystal clear and distinctive. The beauty of the MBUX is that it’s top-quality across all models.
It’s no surprise that a brand hailing from Elon Musk would prize extravagant tech in their cars. With this in mind, the Model X and Model S each have enormous 17-inch screens. Although not many of the apps require such an enormous screen, it’s still refreshing to see. With Tesla, there’s also no need to get updates physically, as all new software is installed remotely.
Car tech has come a long way since the tape deck and CD players. Now, the focus is on impressive displays, touchscreens, and voice controls. All of this moves the sector towards the goal of full automation.