Safety issues surround car information systems. By Louise Joselyn.

Unlike the usual technology trend, whereby advanced features eventually migrate down to high volume, low cost models, the reverse is happening in the automotive electronics market. This is the development noted by Matthias Wenzel, marketing manager of Renesas Technology Europe’s Automotive Business Unit. Driven initially by consumer demand to ‘plug in’ personal devices such as MP3 players and, increasingly, navigation devices, car manufacturers are now seeing a surge of interest in factory fitted car information systems. Comparatively slow growth in built in infotainment centres and telematics systems in high end vehicles has been attributed to high price tags and lack of appeal, said Wenzel. Meanwhile, the explosion in portable MP3 players and personal navigation devices (PNDs) has generated renewed interest in in-car system