Published: October 1, 2014 | Regensburg
Continental has unveiled its Multifunctional Smartphone Terminal (MFST) that enables car drivers to use the smartphone functions easily, conveniently and safely in vehicles of all classes.
The MFST combines wireless charging of the smartphone battery, wireless antenna coupling, and near field communications (NFC). One key innovation is that these three features do not require a cable connecting the phone to the vehicle. Moreover, the modular design allows vehicle manufacturers to decide which features they want to offer in their models.
The terminal can charge the smartphone wirelessly. This facility is available for certain phone models such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, S4 and S3, the LG G2 ; the Nokia Lumia 1020, 925, 820 and 720 ; Apple iPhone 5S, 5, 4S, and 4 ; Google Nexus 5 and 4, and the LG Optimus G Pro.
The wireless charging system meets the “Qi” standard specified by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). Continental believes this standard is ideal for use in vehicles. For example, it offers similar charging currents to standard USB charging connections and has similar charging times to those of cable charging systems. It ensures that neither the smartphone nor the vehicle’s components exceed their specified maximum temperatures during charging. Furthermore, foreign object detection ensures that inductive charging stops immediately if keys, coins or chewing gum with metal foil packaging are placed in the smartphone terminal by mistake. The clever cell phone box also meets all the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements specified by the vehicle manufacturers.
Alongside the Qi-standard supported by Continental, there are other wireless charging technologies such as PMA (Power Matter Alliance) or A4WP (Alliance for Wireless Power) on the market. Continental is already working on supporting these standards.
Wireless antenna coupling
For ensuring seamless connectivity, the MFST terminal uses passive antenna coupling technology to connect to an external phone antenna on the vehicle mounted outside. An external antenna reduces the electromagnetic load on the people inside the vehicle and also spares the smartphone’s battery. This is because the poorer the reception is, the more power a cell phone needs to send and receive.
To increase the quality of the network connection to a maximum level, the system is usually equipped with an additional compenser from Kathrein Automotive. The compenser compensates the losses of passive antenna coupler and losses in the cable to the external phone antenna (roof-mounted antenna). The benefits for the smartphone user at the wheel include more stable downloads, more reliable streaming and improved voice quality during calls.
Near Field Communication (NFC)
The MFST terminal also connects the smartphone to the vehicle architecture via near field communication (NFC). This can used to activate personal presets in the vehicle via smartphone – from favorite radio stations to preferred air conditioning settings to seat positions and mirror settings. This means the Continental terminal offers manufacturers a wide range of features and makes it much easier for drivers to use their smartphones safely in their cars.
The new terminal is to go into production in 2015 according to the company.