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Bring-your-own-iPad (updated)

by David Zatz on

Some have asked why we can’t integrate our iPads or copycat tablets into our cars. We’d lose the personalization menus and status displays, unless  automakers provided a secure API, but we’d get cheaper map and system updates, and repairs would cost far less.

ipad mount in dashboard

Enter FCA Italy, née Fiat, with US patent 9,403,489.  This patent covers a dashboard-mounted frame to seat a tablet, with a lock linked to the door locks. The inventors also suggest stowing the frame into a pocket (or presumably flipping it down) to conceal the tablet.  “Masks” would accommodate differently sized tablets, phones, or portable navigation systems.

They specifically wanted to avoid suction cups, so little devices don’t break free and fly around in a crash.  The inventors don’t get into charging or coupling to the car’s systems, but it’s a matter of time before cars at least allow carefully selected data to be retrieved — if not input.

As for why it’s better than a cheap Wal-Mart mount, one can see the crashworthiness and theft-avoidance benefits.

Thanks, Steven St. Laurent.


MJAB wrote that Fiat is already using the device in the Fiat Mobi (Brazil) and, more recently, the Fiat Panda (Europe). IOS (Apple) and Android apps integrate the smartphone with the car via the UConnect radio, using the phone’s or tablet’s display, processor, memory, Internet connection, and data. The app, for now, is simple and similar to CarPlay and Auto.

From the smartphone, there is also access to configuration of some parameters of the car/audio system and some other car data, and access to Fiat services and, in the Mobi, a parked-car-finder.

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