It's about time cars started moving into the digital age. Engineers at the Volkswagen Electronic Research Laboratory just announced that they are developing new "infotainment" interfaces for an upcoming line of VW vehicles. The news comes with some hot sneak peek photos that give us an idea of just what our cars might be packing in the near future.
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Volkswagen developed their new interface with help from the Intel corporation, and they're calling it the Global Open Research Infotainment Architecture (GLORIA for short). The computers GLORIA will be loaded onto will have small, multitouch capable monitors. While VW will be pre-loading their new interfaces with navigation and music applications, they are also hoping to let third-party developers do most of the widget designing for them.
Cnet thinks that, at the earliest, we'll be seeing this system out in commercial cars in about three years. I can't wait. The mock-up they've got now has music, radio, navigation, photo, video, and widget options on its home screen. The fact that there is a photo option makes me think that you'll be able to upload pictures from an SD card to your vehicle's hard drive. Either that, or VW is going to start mounting cameras on their cars.
On the current screenshots we've seen, there doesn't appear to be an Internet browser window. At this stage of development that doesn't really surprise me. I do hope that as they get further along, VW will look into offering 3G Internet connectivity for their future, GLORIA-loaded cars. It'd give a whole new meaning to the phrase "mobile hotspot".