Toyota’s current infotainment system is a lot like the brand as a whole: pretty good, pretty efficient, there’s really nothing to complain about, and its sales prove that. But there is still room for improvement. Toyota knows that, and today it introduced its new HMI (Human Machine Interface) for its next generation of vehicles. It’s calling it Lexus Interface for now (we’re assuming less-expensive Toyota variants will also get the tech). The company says it will be best-in-class in user experience, which is a hard thing to quantify, but we can at least tell you that it looks pretty cool.
“With the new multimedia system, we focused on the needs and wants of the customer and what would enable a more seamless and enjoyable experience on the road,” said Charan Lota, executive chief engineer and vice president at TMNA Connected Technologies. “We brought multiple groups from electrical engineering to software development and business planning together into one team with one common goal – enhancing the in-vehicle experience.”
The new system can range from 8 to 14 inches, gets a new design and functionality, but keeps the volume knob. It’s just the easiest way. Everything is integrated into the system, but Steve Basra, group vice president, TMNA Connected Technologies says that the menus aren’t too deep, so everything is easy to find. The temperature control is thankfully controlled through two dials attached to the glass. It has five times the processing power of the old system and provides faster and more responsive touch functionality, according to Toyota. All screens feature a glare-reducing coating.
As is common, the new HMI will get over-the-air updates when necessary, either to add more features or update the navigation system. It also has a virtual assistant that can be called upon like Siri on your iPhone. Speaking of which, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both compatible, and like Porsche, Apple Music can now be integrated without connecting your phone. Toyota says the system is designed to be “voice first,” but so far these systems have been less than perfect, so we’ll wait to judge.
“With this new system we are jumping into the future, from larger touchscreens up to 14 inches to having a 100% cloud-navigation for more accurate and faster directions,” said Basra. “We want all of our customers to experience this in-vehicle advancement, and that is why this system will eventually be offered across our vehicle line-up – regardless of screen size or model grade. This is another first in company history.”
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