Honda e previews connectivity features you could get tomorrow

Honda e connectivity

CONNECTIVITY. It’s a term you hear often these days in descriptions of new models. It refers to the seamless integration between advanced technologies for infotainment and the portable devices that the car’s occupants have, as well as connecting to the world outside the car.

The earliest ‘connectivity’ feature would have been the radio, receiving broadcasts of music and news from stations as the car moved along. Then with the advent of the cellular mobilephone, 2-way communications became possible. And with the internet and wireless broadband, connectivity meant being able to connect to the World Wide Web and use the same services and applications you use on your computer or tablet.

Connectivity is becoming very important and sophisticated with the coming era of autonomous cars. Not only must cars communicate with the outside world efficiently and safely but the occupants must also have the best connectivity since they will be involved in the driving less (or not at all).

Honda e connectivity

Benchmark in connectivity features
Honda, like other carmakers, has already many connectivity features in its current models and is developing even more. The new Honda e EV to got on sale in Europe this year sets a new benchmark in this area with connected infotainment which helps the car to integrate with the owner’s lifestyle through sophisticated, easy-to-use technology.

As a result, the driver and passengers – whether the car is driving, parked or charging – can enjoy the same connectivity and comfort with comprehensive connected services accessed through a next-generation full-width digital dashboard.

“Our objective for the Honda e was that the simple exterior style continues inside. The overall interior atmosphere combined with exceptional comfort by using familiar materials such as wood grain and textured fabric, is reminiscent of a modern living room.” explained Kohei Hitomi, Large Project Leader for the Honda e. “In this modern, relaxing environment, occupants can effortlessly engage with advanced connected technology such as the camera mirror system and dual touchscreen display that is highly sophisticated, but incredibly easy to use.”

Full-width digital dashboard
The Honda e’s full-width digital dashboard is designed for effortless usability of connected apps and services. Five integrated high-resolution colour screens together occupy the entire width of the car’s interior.

Honda e connectivity

The Side Camera Mirror System screens are ergonomically placed at either end of the dashboard to ensure a natural feel and vision for the driver, while the Centre Camera Mirror System display relays the image from a central rear-facing camera, further increasing the driver’s field of vision.

An 8.8-inch TFT meter instrument display in front of the driver presents key vehicle information including power and charge status, drive mode selected and safety feature details.

Dual screens display connected services
The largest area of the full-width digital dashboard is occupied by dual 12.3-inch LCD touchscreens. These are the primary infotainment displays, presenting a range of intelligent applications and services. This sophisticated interface is highly intuitive, customisable, and has been designed for ultimate usability to elevate the car beyond being a means of transportation to become fully integrated into the owner’s modern connected life.

Honda e connectivity

The interface features familiar smartphone-style usability, with swipe controls to browse recently used applications. Content can easily be swapped across the two screens, enabling the driver to utilise content on both screens with simplicity and ease. This function allows the passenger to swipe content such as navigation instructions into the driver’s eye line. And because the dual screen set-up allows two applications to be displayed side-by-side, the driver and front passenger can independently select and view separate apps. For example, while the driver follows navigation instructions, the front passenger can search for a music playlist.

AI-powered connectivity
Connected services and applications can also be accessed using voice commands via the Honda Personal Assistant. The intuitive Honda Personal Assistant is a smart artificial intelligence (AI) service that uses unique contextual understanding to create natural conversations and provide access to a range of online services.

The Honda Personal Assistant is activated by saying ‘OK Honda’, followed by the question or instruction. Machine learning enables the technology to develop a greater understanding of individuals’ voice over time, helping it to deliver more accurate responses.

The comprehensive suite of in-built apps can be supplemented by smartphone mirroring, via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. These systems enable users to view social media, music and other internet services on the dual touchscreens. When the car is parked – even when charging – the occupants can also watch video content and access the internet on their own mobile devices using the built-in wifi hotspot.

Prototypes of the all-electric Honda e to go on sale in Europe before the end of 2019

Smartphone application for remote access
Owners can still stay connected to their car remotely through a smartphone application when they step out. The service focusses on the user journey, with easy navigation to access charging functions, detailed vehicle status, climate control, security and location monitoring. Additional connectivity and EV-specific functions include battery charge control and range monitor, while charging station and navigation search results can be sent to the car from a mobile device.

The Honda e is also accessible using a digital key, allowing the car to be locked and unlocked via the app. Safety alerts can notify owners if it moved outside of a set ‘geofence’ zone.

The Honda e is initially intended for sale in European markets. Honda’s plan for the next decade is to have a substantial portion of its vehicle sales made up of battery electric vehicles. Connectivity technologies in the Honda e are likely to be adopted in new models in coming years so the next City or CR-V you buy may have some of the features you just read about.

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