The makers of traffic app Waze are the latest company wanting to go beyond the phone and integrate more deeply with car hardware.
It’s a natural move — if you use Waze, you use it when you’re driving. However, the whole dealmaking and integration process with automakers is long and complicated, so as a first step, Waze is looking at the “aftermarket” of devices that people can add to their cars. And it’s starting with Pioneer’s AppRadio.
We wrote about AppRadio in more detail last year, but basically, when you connect your Android or iOS phone to the radio, a limited set of your apps will be accessible through the radio touchscreen. Now that set of AppRadio-enabled apps includes Waze, at least if you’ve got the Android version. (AppRadio integration is coming for Waze’s iOS app too.)
VP Community Geographer DiAnn Eisnor says Waze’s AppRadio functionality is essentially the same as the smartphone app’s — you can still get directions, look at real-time traffic data, and also let Waze collect data as you drive. However, the interface has been tweaked. For example, instead of simply freezing the keyboard when you’re driving (Waze is big on hands-free interaction), the AppRadio display makes the keyboard disappear altogether.
Eisnor also says that real connected car integration is coming soon, perhaps as early as this fall. From her perspective, the exciting thing is the ability to tap into all of the car’s other sensors, so it’s not just tracking where you are and how fast you’re going.
“This is milestone number one,” she says.
Here’s the latest AppRadio ad, where you can see brief glimpses of the Waze integration. (If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, or you miss the Waze cameos, they start at 0:15 and 0:44.)