Vehicle connectivity is all the buzz these days. But what does linking your car to the virtual data cloud really
For buyers of the 2018 Camry, Sienna and Mirai and 2019 Avalon, the answer to that question is Entune 3.0. The latest generation of Toyota’s in-vehicle multimedia system benefits from the company’s recent investments in big data. That includes Toyota Smart Center (TSC), a global cloud-based platform forged in a partnership with Microsoft that began in 2011.
But customers, and team members for that matter, care more about what it does than how it does it.
Sandy Lobenstein, executive vice president of business planning and strategy for Toyota Connected, perhaps summed it up best: “This is by far the most intuitive and user-friendly version of Entune yet. It’s the next big step down the path that will lead us to a more fully wired world on wheels.”
So to whet everyone’s digital appetite, we consulted with the company’s Connected Vehicle Technology team to put together this list of cool Entune 3.0 features:
Mapping options —
On entry-level models, Entune 3.0 downloads Scout GPS Link with Full Moving Maps, an app supplied by third-party developer Telenav, to your mobile device to beam up-to-date maps and directions onto your vehicle’s display screen. Higher trim levels employ an embedded system that, for the first time, incorporates Dynamic Navigation. Previously, you needed to return to your local dealership periodically to update the maps loaded onto your nav system via hard drive, DVD or SD card. Fewer than 10 percent of current customers actually do that. Entune 3.0, though, connects to the TSC. So the latest maps and route directions are downloaded automatically and stored in the system’s cache memory.
Helpful humans —
When a conventional search fails to turn up your desired destination, Entune 3.0 offers Destination Assist. Just push a button and you’ll be connected to a live operator who can help you find what you’re looking for, then transmit the details from the call center directly to your vehicle’s nav screen. Meanwhile, your hands remain on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road ahead.
Just say it —
Entune 3.0 also adds Dynamic Voice Recognition to the mix. It taps into the TSC database to significantly expand its vocabulary of spoken words recognized by the system beyond what’s loaded onto the in-car system. That increases the likelihood that Entune will understand what you’re telling it do and respond appropriately.
Remote control —
Through an app on your mobile device, you can start/stop your vehicle’s engine, lock/unlock the doors and set alerts when you give someone else permission to drive your car. So, for example, if your teenager is behind the wheel and exceeds the speed limit, you’ll know — thanks to an alert on your device. Remote Connect also allows you to monitor your vehicle’s status and let you know if you’ve left a door or window open.
Virtual technician —
The latest version of Entune now includes Service Connect. It provides monthly vehicle health reports, with updates on fuel level and mileage to maintenance alerts and more. In addition, via Service Lane Portal, Toyota can see if your vehicle has triggered a maintenance light or malfunction indicator light, prompting your preferred dealer to contact you and suggest making an appointment to bring the vehicle in. That could help minimize your vehicle’s downtime.
An App for That —
The Entune App Suite, previously offered only on models with premium audio systems, will now be standard on all models with Entune 3.0 App Suite Connect. So you’ll be able to enjoy display-screen access to such services as Pandora, Slacker, iHeart Radio and Yelp – as well as the newly added NPR One. Oh, and the Yelp app launches the navigation system when needed to help you find your way.
Available Wi-Fi —
Premium grades come standard with in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi. Up to five of your passengers can stream content to their mobile devices. Did someone say “Road trip!”?
Peace of Mind —
Entune exists primarily to make your drives more fun and convenient. But Entune 3.0 also delivers Safety Connect for those times when things don’t go as planned. If an airbag is deployed or if you push an SOS button, the word will get out and help will be dispatched to your location.
By Dan Miller