The British commercial-public broadcaster partnership Radioplayer has unveiled a prototype touchscreen radio for dashboards, designed to show how smart ‘hybrid’ technology can transform in-car listening.
Radioplayer describes Reference Radio as “the latest move in a series of ambitious partnership projects, aimed at helping car companies and broadcasters deliver a better user-experience in the vehicles of the future.”
The hybrid prototype is able to play DAB digital radio, FM, and Internet radio streams providing operators with a single list of stations across all those platforms, which is different to existing radios where users need to know which platform – for example FM, Digital or AM – the station is available on. In this case the driver just taps a station logo to play it, and the system does the rest.
Radioplayer explains that safety is a key factor in the design, reducing driver distraction with an easy, intuitive interface. A large display shows what’s playing, and the driver switches between favourite stations by tapping a logo, swiping the screen, or pressing the buttons on the steering wheel. In the next phase of development, voice control will be tested, along with podcasts and personalisation.
Michael Hill, Managing Director at Radioplayer, explained, “We’ve distilled years of research, development and testing into this prototype, which will be the catalyst for a long-overdue conversation between broadcasters and car companies. The Radioplayer Reference Radio shows that radio can be simple, smart and sexy in the connected cars of the future.”