Infographic: The Evolution of Car Infotainment Systems

Infographic: The Evolution of Car Infotainment Systems

Can you imagine road trips without your trusty GPS and awesome playlists? Well, less than one hundred years ago, individuals lucky enough to own an automobile would embark on the road with only themselves and their passengers as entertainment. It didn’t take long for that to change, however. With the introduction of radio, in-car entertainment was changed forever.
Fast forward to today and car entertainment systems come equipped with movies, WiFi internet, music streaming, and much more. Vehicle infotainment systems grow increasingly complex and technologically advanced each passing model year, which graduates of auto training schools will witness throughout their careers. As our reliance on technology and interconnectedness grows, there’s no telling where the future of infotainment systems is headed!
Are you interested in an automotive career? Read on to learn more about the history of infotainment systems.
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The Evolution of Car Infotainment Systems

Today, infotainment systems are quickly becoming a standard in vehicles. However, they haven’t always been. Take a look back in time to learn about car infotainment systems’ humble beginnings


  • The first AM car radio was introduced
  • Car radios would be the main source of in-vehicle entertainment for the next two decades

Did you know? Motorola offered the first car radio for $130 USD (that’s about $1,800 by today’s standards!)


  • Car radios began to come equipped with buttons that could remember the driver’s favourite radio stations

Did you know? Radio buttons were the first form of in-car data storage


  • Blaupunkt, a company based in Germany, offered the first AM/FM radio
  • However, FM radio wouldn’t take off for years to come
  • In a short-lived endeavor, Chrysler offered record players in their vehicles
  • Because bumps in the road created poor audio quality, record players in vehicles never caught on

Did you know? In 1956, some vehicles came furnished with a typewriter and writing desk


  • The modern stereo was introduced, which used two streams of audio instead of one
  • The first car stereo was manufactured by Becker in 1969
  • 8-track cassette tapes made their first appearance in vehicles thanks to Ford and Motorola

Did you know? The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix released some of the first albums that experimented with stereo two-channel music


  • Because of their large size, 8-track cassettes were quickly replaced by compact cassette tapes
  • Aftermarket sound systems began to gain popularity

Did you know? Cassette tapes could generally hold about 45 minutes worth of music on each side, whereas a modern-day 16 GB iPod can hold about 3,500 songs.


  • In 1981, the very first in-car navigation system was introduced in the Toyota Celica in Japan

Did you know? Improvements in sound systems would boost the quality of in-car audio dramatically over the next decade


  • Widespread adoption of CDs began in the nineties
  • Near the end of the era, the first units that could play mp3s were introduced

Did you know? CDs were perfect for car-owning music lovers because they didn’t wear out as quickly as cassette tapes


  • The turn of the century brought about major changes. Cars with systems that resemble today’s infotainment systems began to hit the market
  • In the early 2000s, touch screen systems with GPS and music capabilities started gaining popularity
  • Bluetooth capabilities and auxiliary inputs started to be included in vehicles
  • In 2007, Ford created Ford Sync, which enabled hands-free calling and music controls through voice control

Did you know? In 2006, Bill Gates (wrongly) predicted that 30% of vehicles would be operating Windows CE


  • In 2010, the last new car outfitted with a cassette player was produced
  • Google and Apple launch Android Auto and CarPlay
  • Certain makes and models come outfitted with in-car WiFi connectivity
  • Drivers can access their favourite apps from their vehicle’s infotainment systems
  • Comprehensive touch screen infotainment systems are becoming the standard in new vehicles

Did you know? The top infotainment systems of 2017 include Volvo’s Sensus, Kia’s UVO, and Fiat Chrysler’s UConnect.

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