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Telematics

Opel's Latest Infotainment System Arrives on Insignia Sedan

by Nathan Eddy
Opel's Insignia sedan lineup will be the first to feature the German carmaker's next generation of infotainment systems, which the company calls Multimedia and Multimedia Navi Pro.

The on-board navigation system can search for points of interest and includes Live Traffic, real-time fuel prices and parking information based on the destination and online map updates.

The driver information cluster can also be enhanced by an optional heads-up display, and the system boasts an eight-inch touchscreen.

In Live Traffic's connected state -- which requires a tethered smartphone -- the app aggregates traffic information from multiple sources, and tells the driver which parts of the route are affected by delays, what kind of incident may be the cause and can offer re-routing suggestions.

The human-machine interface (HMI) provides direct access to audio, phone functions and navigation through the home screen, with swipe-gestures and other tablet-like controls.

Oliver Rullkoeter, Opel's group product manager for infotainment and connectivity, told The Connected Car that a key focus during the development of these systems was minimizing driver distraction.

"Customers have repeatedly told us that they would like to use their mobile devices in the car as they do outside of it," Rullkoeter said. "They also want an attractive HMI in their cars, and to have ease-of-use functionality comparable to that of other consumer electronics devices."

The driver can also operate the infotainment system through controls on the steering wheel or by embedded voice control.

"We focused on the lowest possible level of driver distraction because safety has always been a top priority for our HMI development," Rullkoeter said. "This goes not only for the infotainment system itself, but the entire operating logic of the carís displays and controls."

In addition to the intuitive designs behind the HMI, Opel has created personalization settings that give up to five drivers the ability to make their own profiles, from adjustments in climate-control settings to audio settings.

Rullkoeter said personalization capabilities are becoming ever more popular, and a company release noted future evolutions of the feature would include personalized search and routing based on individual driving patterns.

"We see open and flexible platforms becoming increasingly widespread, so upgrades and additional functions can be seamlessly added to increase functionality," Rullkoeter said. "Above all we think that a holistic and consistent brand experience is something that customers really appreciate having."

In May, Opel announced new connectivity services would be introduced on its passenger cars and light commercial vehicles beginning in 2019 -- the company will simultaneously start phasing out GM-owned OnStar technology, due to be completed by the end of 2020.

One of the first models to feature Opel Connect will be the next generation Corsa, which Opel will also produce as a battery electric vehicle, with the service available across the entire Opel model range by 2024.

Besides an emergency call, the connectivity offer includes connected navigation, vehicle diagnostics, stolen vehicle assistance, remote vehicle access and fleet management capabilities, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209_LR.

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