On Monday, Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America introduced FLEXConnect, an audio-video bridging system that gives vehicle passengers the freedom to choose and enjoy individual entertainment preferences. The technology brings wireless networks in cars, making for a unique and much improved in-vehicle infotainment experience.
The Mason, Ohio-based Tier 1 supplier knows that vehicle passengers want different things when it comes to information and entertainment. It is this awareness that compelled the company to develop a system that allows flexibility for multiple information and data options and enables each passenger to make individual choices. This flexibility is ideal, not to mention important, for families often on the road and those that travel long distances.
Automotive News reported that the supplier teamed up with other companies to create FLEXConnect. These include Google, Apple and Garmin.
The FLEXConnect system comes with two rear seat 10-inch, 720-pixel screens. Both are equipped with cameras that can function independently while still linked through the vehicle’s Ethernet AVB architecture. The system supports Wi-Fi connectivity and can be used with a number of mobile devices, so the preferred content of users can be made available in the car.
Though FLEXConnect was created with passengers’ individual entertainment tastes in mind, the system is interactive. It was also designed to enable passengers to share content. For instance, the system has the “any media on the screen” feature—just by tapping on the screen, users can share from one screen to another. With this feature, users can send content like photos back and forth.
Because the two screens are interactive, rear seat occupants can also play games.
FLEXConnect will be most appealing for parents, as the system allows front seat occupants to monitor rear seat occupants and control the content they view for entertainment. With the cameras installed above each screen, parents in the front seat can view what the children seated at the back are doing. They can also review the rear seat screens’ programming, overriding the kids’ preferences if needed.
In the future, FLEXConnect may include some other features. These include facial occupant recognition, which would allow individual users to access personalized preferences in the system, everything from layouts to audio content. Also coming soon are navigation selection and offload alert capability.
Mitsubishi Electric wants to see its FLEXConnect technology used in vehicles for the 2018 model year, but the supplier has yet to sign agreements with automakers. The company currently supplies rear seat infotainment electronics used in the Chrysler Town & Country minivan and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV.
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