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Don’t (have to) touch that dial

John Day

John Day

Posted Jan 27, 2011

I wasn’t able to attend the Consumer Electronics Show this year so I appreciated Visteon’s invitation to tour their CES exhibit at their headquarters near Detroit. Highlights included their C-Beyond and Growth Market demo vehicles, but I was also intrigued by an application that helps vehicle occupants find the music they like wherever they are.

Visteon says its C-Beyond vehicle includes more than 40 innovations in interiors, electronics, climate and lighting. Most noticeably, Visteon engineers replaced traditional instrument panel climate registers with four roof-mounted registers that direct air flow from the ceiling to the floor. The design frees-up considerable space in the cockpit area and gives the vehicle a more roomy feel that is enhanced by ambient lighting.

The Growth Market car, developed jointly with 3M and targeting consumers in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America, features a very large mostly touch-screen control panel and more interior space than one might expect. The car’s headlights, door handles, and center stack are highlighted with 3M Light String technology, which has a single core fiber with a transparent polymer that converts limited light from a LED into a longer, more uniform light guide.

Besides the cars, Visteon showed a “Wall of Apps” for telematics and infotainment, scalable platforms based on various operating systems and microcontrollers, and a wide range of components representing each of its application categories (interiors, electronics, climate, and lighting).

And on top of all that, Visteon created an application called TerreNet (TNet) for the convenience of drivers and passengers with particular tastes in infotainment. As with Internet radio services like Pandora and Slacker, users create a profile to chart their preferences, and that’s fine in the car as long as the vehicle can hold an Internet connection or the vehicle occupants’ attention. TNet promises something similar on terrestrial FM radio. Basically, it knows what kind(s) of music (or sports or talk format) vehicle occupants like, and also knows what is playing on which stations in any geographic area. No more fiddling with the radio dial to find something to listen to – TNet does the fiddling for you. I didn’t try it out, but the concept sounds promising. We shall see if automakers pick it up. Meanwhile, Visteon is considering a TNet smartphone app.

CES, Consumer Electronics Show, 3M, Visteon, TerreNet, TNet

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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