We can't see any way for Mr. LaHood and his crusaders against distracted driving to win; consumers want access to their connected lives even while behind the wheel and they're going to find a way to get it. Even if it means not being able to actually use a cellphone, manufacturers are right now working on ways to further integrate the app-sphere into their infotainment systems, and a Michigan company called Livio would like to help them.

Livio makes devices so you can get Internet radio in your car. It has begun working on a set of software tools that will provide a common language between automakers' inftotainment systems and apps. Livio wants to develop the software with each interested maker to provide integration tailored to specific systems, and its role as translator would free automakers from software duties and give app makers an easier route to in-car adaptability.

One could ask why don't automakers simply work together on a common standard. It's possible that they are, but with carmakers having come so far with their own systems, with infotainment one of the hottest battlegrounds between brands, and with colossal variation in regulatory diktats, we can see why Livio is presenting the option. The firm hasn't set up any deals yet, but automakers and electronics firms are paying attention.

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