Automobile giants at the world's biggest mobile fair are showing off a new technology that turns a car into a smartphone accessory, allowing a driver to use cutting-edge apps without veering off the road.
Called MirrorLink, and adopted by 85 big manufacturers from Ford to General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, VW, Fiat or Renault, it connects a smartphone and car entertainment system with a two-way audio, video and data link.
"People are using their smartphone applications and services 80 percent of the time. The other 20 percent when they are not using them is when they are in the car," said Jorg Brakensiek, technical coordinator for the Car Connectivity Forum.
"There is no really safe mechanism for the driver to do that," he told AFP at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. MirrorLink requires a compliant car entertainment system and a smartphone with the software, which can be downloaded. Drivers then can access their favorite apps.
The apps must meet legal requirements for screens that face drivers, for example the text must be a certain size and some functions such as typing must be disabled while the car is moving.