Engineers and developers say they are working on improving the interface between vehicles and the multitude of personal electronic devices that are part of most people's everyday lives.
Just don't expect a standardized connection any time soon for cell phones, personal digital assistants, iPods and other manner of aftermarket electronic gizmos.
The makers of these personal electronic devices know the components will be used in vehicles, but it appears the onus is on auto makers and suppliers to devise a vehicle interface that will make it as easy — and the least distracting — to use these devices in vehicles.
The primary job, says a conference panel discussing “Creating a Better Interface,” is to first find a connection that will be as useful and universal as possible.
Gangolf Hirtz,GmbH product manager-Smart Power, says he was convinced several years ago that a standardized connector, or port, through which all personal devices would interface with a vehicle, was a certainty. He says the mind-boggling number of today's competing systems proves he was mistaken.
Hirtz says the best near-term bet is that iPods, cell phones and other devices will “speak” to the vehicle's onboard electronic systems either through a Bluetooth (short-range wireless) connection or perhaps a high-speed connection commonly known in the computer industry as “firewire.”
Others on the panel agree Bluetooth seems to be the best bet, particularly considering a new generation of high-speed Bluetooth is looming, including the ability to handle video transmission.