Everyone wants a connected car, but the truth is that the technology in your in vehicle infotainment system will be outdated well before you’re ready to trade your car in for a new model. So imagine a system that you can take with you and upgrade over the lifetime of your vehicle. ASUS, through their subsidiary Unimax have teamed up with Toyota to announce the Toyota Intelligent System (TIS).
The TIS is a Nexus 7 tablet that has been specially outfitted with everything you need to get around Taiwan. The on-board satellite navigation system can be connected via 4G and offers multimedia control and voice recognition along side access to some serious cloud infrastructure. You’ll be able to access to traffic reports, emergency services, Google voice search, Google maps, calendar and more.
What I like about the navigation is I can point at a location and select it as a destination, the Garmin system I was using over the weekend didn’t give me that option, which upon researching I discovered was a pretty common issue. The ability to find places of interest and services is seamless in the UI.
This isn’t the first crack ASUS and Unimax have had at the IVS market, they had a joint collaboration in April of last year. The Toyota IQ EV was used in a tourism program around Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan. You could find charging stations, points of interest, learn about the history of a scenic location along side practical points like restaurants, hotels and parking lots.
What makes this project particularly interesting is how it is upgradable, what we have today is a Nexus 7 tablet, but in the future, Unimax can create a tablet with the same dimensions with upgraded hardware specs. The price of replacing parts of an IVS are steep, but replacing a tablet like the Nexus 7 is a budget purchase even compared to other tablets.
One great feature that is offered is that when the tablet docks, the car wirelessly charges it, and if your tablet is not blocking the way you can rest other devices in there for charging. The system also comes equipped with NFC to pair devices with the audio system or a tablet with satellite navigation.
If you don’t have the tablet with you, you’ll still be able to access the system, though only a basic set of functions are offered, you won’t be getting maps or gas station navigation.
Toyota isn’t letting it slip which cars are going to have TIS, but I have to admit sitting in the Toyota VIOS I couldn’t help but be a little sentimental. If you had a car stereo with a detachable face plate let me know in the comments!