The Evolution of Modern Car Connectivity, Infotainment, and Navigation


Can you imagine traveling in your car and relying on a large folded map to help you get from point A to point B? Well, that was commonplace before GPS technology was integrated into vehicles. High-tech advancements not only help with driving directions but also how you enjoy entertainment while on the road. The history and evolution of the car connectivity infotainment system and navigation system is one that’s interesting to any car lover or techie.

Infotainment Systems

Infotainment systems are standard in most vehicles. Most new autos are equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity for all mobile devices. It’s not unusual to enjoy a variety of entertainment ranging from satellite radio to watching your favorite movies. Car infotainment has come a long way from its humble beginnings.

  • The 1930s to 1950s – AM radio was introduced and later equipped with a station preset feature. By the 1950s, FM stations were added to the mix, which gave car owners more listing options.
  • The 1960s – The 8-track cassette tape came on the scene. Drivers could now listen to the music of their favorite singers whenever they got behind the wheel. Today, we stream music. Back then, music became mobile when the emergence of these tapes.
  • The 1970s – Technology moved fast, so it wasn’t long before the 8-track tape was replaced by the smaller cassette tape. These double-sided cassettes held roughly 45 minutes of music on each side.
  • The 1980s – CDs emerged as a viable alternative to cassettes. These discs provided better sound quality. Plus, music lovers could create their own playlist by downloading MP3s onto these discs.

By the 2000s, car entertainment featured touch-screen systems, auxiliary inputs, and Bluetooth capabilities. Also, voice-controlled music and hands-free calling hit the market with Ford’s Ford Sync in 2007.

The car connectivity infotainment system navigation system reached new levels by the 2010s. At this time, there was a surge in apps. Additionally, Wi-Fi connectivity became a staple in many makes and models. On top of that, Apple and Google launched Carplay and Android Auto. 2010 marked the end of new cars being outfitted with cassette players.

How GPS Evolved

The Department of Defense developed the global positioning system in 1973. It was first used by the United States Air Force. GPS became available to the public in the 1980s. However, it didn’t become mainstream until the 2000s.

The Internet made it easier for drivers to download driving directions and street maps. Still, this wasn’t an ideal situation. Drivers often had to pull over to read maps. Additionally, getting lost and taking wrong turns remained a problem.

GPS began as standalone mobile devices. The earlier versions had limited features and only offered 2D map graphics. Eventually, upgrades were made that included the following:

  • Real-time traffic
  • On-screen text and voices
  • Lifetime map upgrades
  • 3D map views

Of course, it wasn’t long before these advancements became old school. Portable GPS devices were replaced, for the most part, with smartphones. These phones included GPS capabilities, voice-enabled navigation, regular updates, and Bluetooth-enabled receivers.

As far as new cars are concerned, voice-enabled in-car GPS navigation is becoming a standard feature. Drivers also get a lot of support from technology such as Android Auto or Apple Carplay’s Siri. Car-based GPS systems have advantages over portable GPS devices. For example, they are more reliable and work as soon as the engine is turned on.

Keep Your Vehicle’s Technology Working Properly

Modern technology has transformed the car connectivity infotainment system and navigation system in amazing ways. It’s hard to imagine how we drove around without the convenience of GPS and the enjoyment of Wi-Fi-enabled entertainment. Although hi-tech devices make life easier, they’re not perfect. If you encounter any issues with your vehicle’s technology, contact Auto Technology Repair to get you back up and connected in no time.

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