When it comes to the level of technology available in modern cars, the list of features that are seen as standard fare would make the manufacturers of even 20 years ago do a double-take. Two acronyms that you might see when looking at in-car technology that’s on offer these days - whether brand new, or aftermarket - are ICE and IVI.
What Does ICE Mean & What is IVI?
ICE can stand for a few different things, and when it comes to cars it is most commonly used as an acronym for Internal Combustion Engine. In this context however, it stands for In-Car Entertainment. IVI is a similar thing and stands for In-Vehicle Infotainment and is the more frequently used acronym these days. Entertainment is easy to figure out - it refers to music and video to make long journeys more bearable - but what is infotainment?
Traditionally, the only electronic system plugged into your dashboard was some sort of entertainment device - usually only offering music playback and radio, but later covering video formats such as DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Later on, standalone navigation systems started to crop up, and eventually it became standard fare for in-dash systems to convey both information such as navigation data, diagnostics and climate control, as well as entertainment such as music and video playback - hence the name Infotainment systems.
What Does Infotainment Do?
There are a huge range of functions now controlled by modern infotainment systems including:
- Radio - usually digital radio these days.
- GPS navigation
- Audio player – on disks, MP3, USB or Bluetooth
- Bluetooth for hands-free phone use - sometimes including voice to text functionality.
- Reversing cameras - some cars have these as standard features, although aftermarket systems can often be connected to reverse cameras.
- Screen mirroring – enabling the user to wirelessly connect their mobile device to the car and ‘mirror’ its user interface on the car’s larger touch screen
- Internet access - often with wifi connectivity
As you’d imagine, if you were using traditional dials, knobs and buttons your dash would be so cluttered you’d barely have any room for a steering wheel - so the proliferation of touch screens has come in very handy. Pretty much every infotainment system is now controlled via a touch-sensitive display in the centre of the dash, - usually running either Android Auto or Apple carplay. Most simply occupy a full double DIN slot, although other, fancier units are able to fit in a single DIN slot by offering fold-out displays and other high-tech trickery. Some extremely top-spec systems can even be used with gesture controls, which will let you control systems with simple gestures - allowing you to focus on driving - and almost all modern infotainment systems feature voice controls for the same reason.
Other In-Car Tech
There are a few other handy bits of audio-visual tech that you can equip your car with, such as various cameras, sensors and more. Due to advances in camera technology and data storage, dash cams have become a cheap and reliable tool to use in ensuring that the roads stay safe. You can record high-quality footage of the road in front of (and often behind) you, for use in the reporting of unsafe drivers and accidents or other situations where witnesses may be required, or if you simply want to capture your driving. Footage can be readily saved, uploaded online and shared, and easily imported into video editing software if you’d like to make a sweet road trip compilation! Similarly, reversing and interior cameras make for a great safety and security additions respectively, and both can be easily installed and used.
Many of the technologies that were usually reserved for higher end factory options are now becoming affordable in the aftermarket, so check out the useful In-car tech we have on our website, and outfit your vehicle with all sorts of information, entertainment, security and safety features.
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