Friday, January 11, 2013
CES 2013: Toyota's new dashboard feature
One of the cooler tech related things to come out this year was recently announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) involving a deal between Toyota and The Weather Channel, which is part of Total Traffic Network (TTN) and Clear Channel Media. The partnership will provide real-time updates of traffic and weather in certain 2013 Toyota vehicles via the dashboard! It will use a combination of text and graphics on the display screen to minimize driver distraction, and help drivers plan for safer trips.
Weather forecasts will come from The Weather Channel's Doppler radar system, and traffic updates from TTN, which will be provided through a combination of maps and incident coverage reports that are updated every two minutes. The system will also include predictive traffic information in 15, 30, and 45 minute increments! Definitely a useful feature if you're headed somewhere on a time limit and worried about hitting pockets of congestion. I'm most interested if it can quickly provide alternative routes in the case of lane closures and accidents.
Now, the two big questions you're probably wondering: How much does it cost, and what vehicles will come with it? There hasn't been a list of what 2013 models will offer the dashboard system as of yet (which I will update as soon as more information becomes available) but it has been stated that the feature will be free to the cars that it is built in. If you've got an Entune equipped vehicle and smartphone, Toyota is also working on the ability to offer both features for those users in the future as well. I think giving older cars the ability to take advantage of these is a good move on Toyota's part. With the advent of smartphone technology and apps, it shouldn't be too difficult to port over.
Do you currently use any apps or similar programs that provide weather or traffic on demand while you're driving? What sort of improvements would you like to see in a system that provides this kind of information?