Toyota, Lexus Load Up New Infotainment System With Cool Features

Lexus Toyota infotainment system 2021
Lexus and Toyota have debuted a new infotainment system. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

You asked. You asked again. And again. Toyota and Lexus have finally answered. A new infotainment system is coming to vehicles that will arrive on dealer lots by the end of the year and future product that has yet to be unveiled.

The new system was developed completely in-house by the Connected Technologies group, which undertook the project in 2018. In all, more than 400 dedicated team members and business partners have played a hand in the development of the system.

"The development of this new system represents a fundamental shift in the way we design products," said Daniel Hall, global chief UX designer, TMNA Connected Technologies. "With the adoption of over-the-air (OTA) updates we are able to develop software in smaller, more manageable pieces – with the ability to provide updates to customers even quicker."

Toyota recently previewed the system, giving the media a peek at what they can expect. Here are eight of the coolest features.

Over-the-air updates have arrived.

No more taking your vehicle to the dealership or installing a new SD card for an infotainment system or navigation update. The new system ensures that the car is connected at all times and able to download updates as they are pushed, making sure that the system stays as up-to-date as the technology will allow at all times.

The navigation system is compatible with the cloud.

Lexus Toyota infotainment screen 2021
The system's navigation system is backed by TomTom technology. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Each vehicle that comes with the new tech will have a native navigation system that features 100-percent cloud capability. That means that the system will be able to receive over-the-air, real-time updates for navigation mapping over the lifetime of the vehicle.

It has smartphone-like glare-reducing technology.

Toyota and Lexus will offer the technology on 8.0- and 14.0-inch infotainment touch screens. Those screens feature optically-bonded, glare-reducing technology that allows users to experience a new infotainment system with smartphone-like capability.

Animation brings the system to life.

Whether the system is listening to voice commands, processing those commands, or simply changing screens as the user moves between functions or looks at menus, unique animation has been incorporated in an effort to make the system appear more lively.

Users have many music sources to choose from.

Toyota Lexus infotainment system 2021
Users can see a selection of radio stations represented visually on the screen. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

It's not just a choice between AM or FM anymore. The new infotainment system allows users to choose between satellite radio, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto in addition to the traditional sources.

Everyone who drives the car can create a user profile.

Customization is no longer just for luxury cars and SUVs. The new Toyota and Lexus system allows a driver's personalized settings to be saved. These include preferred radio stations and climate settings. The profiles are saved between trips and accessed when the driver returns to the vehicle.

No keys, passwords, or PINs are required.

As an extension of the user profile feature, drivers can utilize a digital key via smartphone when they are within Bluetooth range of the vehicle. To utilize the function, users will approach the car, open the Toyota or Lexus app, then lock/unlock and start/stop their vehicle.

Owners can share their vehicle's digital key with up to seven different guest users at one time. No passwords or PINs are required to share the key as long as guests are registered with the app.

The screen reacts just touch like a smartphone.

Lexus Toyota infotainment screen 2021
Users can pinch and zoom on the large screen in the new Lexus NX. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Users can tap, touch, zoom, pinch, and tilt the view of their car's infotainment system using their fingers, just like they can on their smartphone. However, the system isn't as quick to respond as a smartphone or tablet, at least upon first trial.