ECARX, a global mobility tech company, will see its next-generation digital head unit (DHU) reach European motorists with the continued roll-out of the new smart #1, expected to begin customer deliveries from end of 2022.
The ECARX-developed digital head unit, running a smart and ECARX co-developed operating system known as smart OS, gives users a more customisable and intuitive experience while exemplifying the smart brand spirit. Based on a design concept set by Mercedes-Benz, the DHU introduces smart’s first ever in-car virtual assistant in the form of a digital fox avatar and an ‘Inspiring Planet’ design concept as a central feature. The co-developed operating system provides a smooth, efficient, and enjoyable Human Machine Interface (HMI) that includes multi-context speech recognition and the ability to download and access a range of global apps.
Delivering a seamless customer experience, the central touchscreen controls vehicle functions and the infotainment system while also controlling a range of driving and user comfort modes. Shortcut icons give quick access to most frequently used vehicle functions and media can be controlled from the home screen at any time via a dynamic widget. Displays are maximised through a split-screen design allowing for a simultaneous view of both the navigation route and media controls, and a pop-up screen with camera view will be activated in certain driving scenarios.
The smart #1 digital cockpit uses next-generation Snapdragon® Cockpit Platforms from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. As key components of the Snapdragon® Digital Chassis™ solutions, the next-generation Snapdragon Cockpit Platforms are designed to transform in-vehicle experiences, supporting higher levels of computing intelligence needed for advanced capabilities featured in next generation vehicles. This includes highly intuitive artificial-intelligence (AI) experiences for in-car virtual assistance, cutting-edge technologies for immersive audio and rich visual experiences, natural interactions between the vehicle and driver, and contextual safety use cases for drivers and passengers. With over-the-air (OTA) capabilities, the system can continuously be improved throughout the lifetime of the car.
Unlike some traditional OEM-supplier relationship, where the suppliers are brought in to fulfil a specification, smart and ECARX worked together from the initial product development phase of the smart #1 in 2019, with each party contributing their own experience and expertise to co-develop a fully integrated digital system.
Commenting, ECARX Chairman and CEO, Ziyu Shen said: “Millions of users in different regions are already enjoying ECARX-developed digital cockpit solutions but we are especially excited to roll-out our latest generation Digital Head Unit in the smart #1 for customers in Europe. Co-developed with smart and based on Mercedes-Benz’s design direction, we’ve jointly delivered a smooth, efficient and enjoyable user experience that embodies the smart brand, on a system that can run global apps and content. Built on a next generation Snapdragon Cockpit Platform, combined with ECARX’s self-developed software stack, it is one of the most advanced platforms currently available.”
Dirk Adelmann, CEO smart Europe, said: “We are very happy with the solution we’ve created together with ECARX for the smart #1. This is the first smart vehicle that is benefitting from the expertise in tailor made software and hardware integration that ECARX brings into our partnership. We are looking forward to the possibilities opening up for our future products and ultimately for our customers.”
ECARX is transforming vehicles into seamlessly integrated information, communications and transportation devices. It is shaping the interaction between people and cars by rapidly advancing the technology at the heart of smart mobility. ECARX’s current core products include infotainment head units (IHU), digital cockpits, vehicle chip-set solutions, a core operating system and integrated software stack. Beyond this, ECARX is developing a full-stack automotive computing platform.
Over the last three years, ECARX’s technology has been integrated into more than 3.7 million cars worldwide. ECARX was founded in 2017 and has since grown to nearly 2,000 team members globally. The co-founders are two automotive entrepreneurs, Chairman and CEO Ziyu Shen and Eric Li (Li Shufu), who is also the founder and chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely), one of the largest automotive groups in the world that holds ownership interest and investment in international brands such as Lotus, Lynk & Co, Polestar, smart and Volvo Cars.
In May 2022, ECARX entered into a merger agreement with COVA Acquisition Corp. and, upon completion of the transaction, expects to be listed on Nasdaq. The closing of the transaction is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2022.
smart Europe GmbH was founded in June 2020 as a wholly owned subsidiary of smart Automobile Co., Ltd. Based in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, near Stuttgart. smart Europe’s international team is responsible for all sales, marketing and after-sales activities for the next generation of smart vehicles, products and services of the brand in the European market. With Dirk Adelmann as CEO and Martin Günther as CFO, the company is developing its full potential in Europe with a highly efficient and customer-oriented business model. smart Automobile Co., Ltd. was established as a global joint venture between Mercedes-Benz AG and Geely Automobile Co., Ltd. smart is positioning itself as a leading provider of intelligent electric vehicles in the premium segment. The all-new compact SUV is available for pre-order since October 2022.