Parrot, the global leader in wireless devices for mobile phones, drew large crowds to its booth at CES 2010 with its exciting new AR.Drone. The Drone is a wifi helicopter with two cameras that can be controlled using an iPhone or an iPod Touch. It showcases the company’s know-how in signal processing and connectivity. Through its connectivity expertise, Parrot has developed an extensive range of hands-free kits for cars, motorbikes and scooters. It is also a leading manufacturer of wireless multimedia products geared towards audiovisual applications. Parrot has become a benchmark supplier for the OEM and Tier One market in the automotive field.
Automotive Industries spoke to Eric Riyahi, OEM director for Parrot, when stationed at the CES booth and asked him how he envisions the future of automotive connectivity.
Riyahi: Automotive connectivity is currently focused on hands-free telephony and multimedia connectivity with portable devices such as USB flash drives and media players like the iPod. The growing trend in mobile phone use is represented by smartphones, with the integration of telephony, internet access and multimedia devices in one single device. Automotive connectivity should keep the pace with mobile devices and enable drivers to enjoy a smartphone-like feature embedded in their vehicles.
How do you justify your focus on embedding smartphone features in the car?
Riyahi: Smartphones are the fastest growing segment in the mobile phone market, with a projected 30% worldwide market share in 2013. This trend is particularly strong in North America and Europe. Both are markets where automotive connectivity is widespread.
Carriers have been fuelling this growth by subsidizing smartphones in order to maximize their average revenue per user (ARPU) through data services and multimedia applications. These services and applications are also well adapted to the automotive world, with location-based services, mapping information and off-board navigation.
How will you implement this new type of connectivity?
Riyahi: The main characteristics of smartphones are internet access, messaging, multimedia playback and the ability to install applications in the field. Parrot aims to offer these features in its upcoming connectivity solutions via the FC6100 module. In addition to existing Bluetooth and USB connectivity, internet access is provided through 3G+ (via Bluetooth through the user’s phone, with a USB 3G+ dongle or with an embedded GSM module).
The Parrot FC6100 can be embedded in the car and opens the automotive connectivity market to a wider range of Tier One suppliers. There is huge potential for integration into the in-vehicle display and center stack, particularly if you consider the LCD controller capabilities of the FC6100 module.
Which software platform do you regard as most appropriate for implementing a smartphone-like automotive connectivity solution?
Riyahi: Android is the rising platform in the smartphone world. It combines the flexibility and low costs of an open OS with the wealth of Java applications coming from the fast growing developers’ community. With the combination of this platform and mobile internet access, Parrot will provide OEMs and Tier Ones with a groundbreaking advancement in automotive connectivity.
Can you physically demonstrate this new solution?
Riyahi: AI readers are invited to come and view it in action during the upcoming Beijing Auto Show (Auto China) from April 23, 2010 (Hall 8A, Booth 22).
How will you implement this solution with your customers?
Riyahi: Parrot will follow its current strategy as a reference technology supplier, working with leading Tier One suppliers who wish to gain a competitive advantage. The FC6100 solution can be implemented standalone or integrated in a radio, display or center stack.
For information on how to contact Parrot, visit www.parrotoem.com