Hard disks find favor for vehicle infotainment - Embedded.com

Hard disks find favor for vehicle infotainment

LONDON — Shipments of hard disk drives (HDDs) for use in automotive infotainment systems are expected to jump by a factor of nearly five to 16.6 million units by 2013 from the 3.5 million shipped in 2006.

This boom is predicted by iSuppli (El Segundo, CA) due to the explosion of digital multimedia infotainment systems in cars for storage and playback of music, video and other digital content.

Automotive HDD shipments will rise at a compound annual growth Rate of 25.1 percent from 2006 to 2013, making hard drives the fastest-growing storage solutions for cars in the coming years.

“In the very near future, vehicles will be required to receive and store broadcast digital content, from radio, television and other data-delivery systems such as WiMAX. This requirement is shaping the strategies that are being developed by vehicle manufacturers as they look for suitable replacements for current read-only optical technologies, including HDDs,” said Richard Robinson, principal analyst, automotive electronics for iSuppli.

Embedded navigation systems typically use one of three storage formats: CD, DVD and HDDs. According to iSuppli CDs are falling out of favor as the primary map storage format for navigation systems in favor of dual-layer DVD technology. Such DVD solutions continue to dominate the market. However, both the CD and DVD optical technologies do not compare favorably with the system performance and storage capabilities of HDD-based systems. HDD technologies in (head-units) vehicles typically offer superior system performance and greater geographical map coverage with increased richness in map detail.

In spite of consumer preferences shifting away from read-only optical technologies in favor of flash memory- and HDD-based media, optical-based single-CD systems will remain the default audio playback technology in cars through 2013, with nearly 100 percent market penetration in the United States, Europe and Japan.

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