Just the other day, Toyota announced a new smartphone integration system that it will be installing in its vehicles. The Scout GPS Link system is developed by California-based Telenav and implemented by Washington-based UIEvolution. The system will work with both iOS and Android devices, eschewing the need for either Apple's or Google's in-car interfaces while enabling users to link their smartphone with their vehicle's infotainment system to navigate, make or take phone calls, and listen to music. The feature is being rolled out on the Tacoma pickup, then on other 2016 models equipped with Toyota's Entune Audio Plus system.
The question is whether this will prove an inspired decision on Toyota's part, or a short-sighted one. On the one hand, the Scout GPS Link system could end up alienating younger buyers who increasingly show more interest in smartphones than cars, and more loyalty towards operating systems than automakers. On the other hand, it could conceivably prove better and less distracting than Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. We have trouble imagining that a couple of little-known startups could beat both Apple and Google for smoother device integration and interface, but we'll reserve judgement for when we actually get to sample the system first-hand.
SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Telenav®, Inc. (NASDAQ: TNAV), UIEvolution, Inc. and Toyota announced today that Scout GPS Link by Telenav and UIEngine Link™ by UIEvolution will be available in the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, as well as other 2016 Toyota vehicles in the United States equipped with Entune™ Audio Plus. Powered by your phone and designed for your car, Scout GPS Link is a brought-in navigation solution truly optimized and tailored for the in-vehicle experience.
Part of the Scout family of apps by Telenav, Scout GPS Link allows users easily to transfer the information displayed on their mobile device outside the car to the multimedia display inside their car. This not only helps provide an optimized and safe experience with larger buttons and easier-to-read navigation while driving, but it also includes one-touch controls and voice recognition. The connectivity between phone and vehicle is provided by UIEvolution's UIEngine Link, which allows drivers to securely access real-time data and services like navigation and traffic, that Scout GPS Link provides, using their mobile device.
Scout GPS Link will soon be available for Toyota owners for both iPhone and Android mobile phones as a free download with a complimentary subscription from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Drivers also can use the app connected to the vehicle head unit free of charge.
"Scout GPS Link provides a flexible brought-in platform that enables car makers to customize the in-car experience to meet their customer needs," said Sal Dhanani, President of Telenav's Automotive Business Unit. "We are excited to partner with one of the world's largest vehicle manufacturers to provide Toyota drivers with a seamless navigation experience across their phone and car screens."
"We're pleased to add Scout GPS Link to Toyota's connected vehicle platform," said Sandy Lobenstein, Vice President for Connected Vehicle Technology and Product Planning at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. "This partnership with Telenav allows us to provide a unique search and navigation experience that our drivers can access wherever they go."
"We're proud to have been selected by Toyota and to work with Telenav," said Chris Ruff, CEO and President, UIEvolution. "We understand the importance of in-car connectivity and look forward to once again, working together to deliver robust and sophisticated in-vehicle experiences that are safe, seamless, driver-friendly and optimized for the road."
Scout GPS Link features that will be available in upcoming 2016 Toyota vehicles include:
- Seamless usage between phone and car: Scout GPS Link is fully functional outside the car with the mobile app and automatically transfers the experience to the car for a full navigation experience enabled by UIEngine Link.
- No retyping necessary: Scout GPS Link automatically transfers search results, navigation routes and drivers' favorite locations and recent destinations from the phone to the car.
- Fast and easy: Drivers can get on the road faster with one tap from the Scout GPS Link home screen on the multimedia system.
- Enhanced search capabilities: Drivers can find the best places to eat and shop, get gas, and more, with intelligent conversational search commands and one-touch popular search categories.
- Voice activation: Hands-free voice commands allow users to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
- Easy-to-follow directions: Users receive voice-guided navigation with driver-friendly turn-by-turn views, displaying the most relevant information, including upcoming maneuvers.
- Multitasking without disruption: Drivers can use other multimedia functions, such as taking phone calls or listening to music, without disrupting navigation while keeping eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
Telenav is a leading provider of location-based platform services. These services consist of our map and navigation platform and our advertising delivery platform. The map and navigation platform allows Telenav to deliver enhanced location-based services to developers, auto manufacturers and users through various distribution channels, including wireless carriers. Our advertising delivery platform delivers highly targeted advertising services leveraging our location expertise. Follow us on Twitter, on Facebook and on Google+.
Copyright 2015 Telenav, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
"Telenav," "Scout," and the Telenav and Scout logos are registered trademarks of Telenav, Inc. Unless otherwise noted, all other trademarks, service marks, and logos used in this press release are the trademarks, service marks or logos of their respective owners.
UIEvolution is a vertical cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider specializing in highly scalable connected device software and solutions across a broad range of markets, including automotive, hotel, cruise, retail and more. We believe that technology and connectivity should enhance and never distract from life experiences. From our inception in 2000, we have said - The User's Experience Matters. And, now for nearly 15 years we have made software and provided services that deliver this vision. Headquartered in Seattle with offices in Tokyo and Detroit, UIEvolution has a proven track record with clients including Toyota, Lexus, DIRECTV, Carnival Corporation, Samsung, LG, AT&T, Microsoft, Disney, Mitsubishi and Panasonic. www.uievolution.com
Toyota (NYSE: TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we've built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 42,000 people (more than 33,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.67 million cars and trucks (more than 2.35 million in the U.S.) in 2014 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.