ACO Tech, the company behind Proton‘s GKUI-based infotainment system has announced Atlas, its new next-generation offering. Developed by a local team, Atlas promises to provide Malaysian drivers with a localised, intelligent and connected experience with their vehicles.
ACO Tech CEO Li Pu said “The Atlas is intelligent, proactive, and humanised. The eco-system is not only integral in transforming people’s relationship with their car, in-vehicle or remotely, we believe that it underpins the future of automotive user experience and paves the way for autonomous vehicle in Malaysia.” He added that the company has invested over RM30 million for the research, development and deployment of Atlas.
ACO Tech Sdn Bhd is a joint venture between Proton Edar, Ecarx Hubei technology and Altel communications. Proton currently uses its localised GKUI system on its Proton X70 and X50 SUVs as well as their updated Iriz and Persona. Atlas runs on Android 9.0 and the availability of features may differ by vehicle specification.
According to ACO Tech, Atlas is integrated with JOOX and they are also including SYOK, which provides latest hits from all Astro Radio brands and podcasts in different languages. While it runs on Android, it doesn’t come with a Google Play Store. Instead, it has A-Store which allows users to download apps and entertainment programmes.
Improved voice command with AI
The current “Hi Proton” voice feature is already pretty impressive when it comes to recognising local Malaysian English. Now they are taking things up a notch as Atlas will feature a built-in AI-powered speech solution that will enhance its recognition capability. Besides providing controls for navigation, entertainment and in-vehicle functions, Atlas can also provide intelligent notification such as occurrences of extreme weather or when a tyre puncture is detected. It added that the voice assistant can be customised according to the driver’s preference.
The new platform also includes Atlas Map, which is a native application that can display real-time traffic information and safety-related features. Besides being able to determine potential traffic patterns to help drivers plan their journey, the app can also show weather forecasts and conditions at each point of the route and destination.
The Atlas Map has offline map data so that the driver can still navigate when internet connection or GPS is not available. Users will also be able to send location and points of interest (POI) to the system via their smartphone. Another convenient feature is that the system will also alert you to refuel with suggestions of nearest petrol stations when it detects that your car is low on petrol. Unfortunately, there’s no Google Maps or Waze integration as the company told Paul Tan that the two popular navigation apps are not open for any new collaboration.
One of the key highlights is Atlas Pay which ACO Tech claims to be the first in-car payment in Malaysia. This is made possible in partnership with FassPay and it will enable drivers to pay for everyday needs without having to disembark from their cars. There’s no mention of what types of transactions it will make and it would be interesting if it can support toll and petrol payments which are currently being offered by Touch ‘n Go eWallet and RFID.
Atlas Pay will be offered in the Atlas Auto App and it is expected to be integrated into its in-car infotainment system in the first half of 2022. The Atlas Auto app will serve as a universal interface to the vehicle and it also offers other features including a marketplace to make purchases and reservations and an automotive-related content discovery platform.
The app also lets you check the status of your car and you can also control its features remotely including remote start/stop, air conditioning, door locks, windows, sunroofs, unlock trunk and to locate your vehicle. The app will be available on the Apple App store, Google Play Store and Huawei App Gallery in Q4 2021. It also supports wearable devices and you will be able to control your car remotely from your wrist.
At the moment, it isn’t clear when will Proton roll out Atlas to its existing vehicles. Proton’s current GKUI system is still running on Android 8. According to ACO Tech, Atlas isn’t limited to just one car brand. They are looking at expanding in the ASEAN market and are open to collaborate with any car brand.