ACO Tech launches ATLAS – Android 9-based OS for Proton cars; better voice commands, more features
After some teasing, ACO Tech has finally revealed what it has been working on all this while. This is ATLAS (an acronym for ACO Tech Local Automotive Services), an infotainment operating system (OS) that will undoubtedly make its way to Proton models in the future.
Wholly led and developed by a Malaysian team and backed by an investment of RM30 million, ATLAS offers an enhanced user experience with new features and is supported by a complimentary mobile app called ATLAS Auto, which we’ll get to shortly.
Unlike the current GKUI software that is built on Android 8 (Oreo), ATLAS is entirely new and makes the shift to Android 9 (Pie), although you still won’t have access to Google-related services like the Play Store. Instead, apps, other content and data packages can be obtained via the proprietary A-Store within the OS.
The user interface is a somewhat familiar one, with the homepage closely resembling the GKUI software in the latest Iriz and Persona. In terms of layout, the map is displayed on the left side of the screen, while customisable widgets for things like the weather, media playback and quick access to the apps are on the right. As before, there’s also an app drawer so you can see everything installed and for you to access vehicle settings, and you can still personalise the OS’ look using themes.
Voice commands are an integral part of the GKUI experience, and this has been further improved in ATLAS. You can choose from male (Atlas) and female (Aethra) voices, while the voice command name and user’s name can also be customised. Under the hood changes also help the system better able to understand Malaysians and localised English better, which is something we’d really love to try out.
The system is also able to notify the driver of any extreme weather in advance and tyre punctures, the latter dependent on the specification of the car. Meanwhile, on the entertainment front, Astro’s Syok platform (digital radio, podcasts, etc.) joins the existing Joox online music streaming service, but there’s still no mention of Spotify, or Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for that matter.
On the navigation front, ATLAS’ Map app features real-time traffic information, points of interest, and is tied to the system’s weather app to alert the driver of the weather at the destination and even changing conditions along the route. If there’s no active internet or GPS connection, drivers will still be able to navigate using offline map data. Another useful feature is if the system detects the car is low on fuel, it can suggest the nearest petrol station for the driver to navigate to.
In Q2 2022, a calendar feature will be added to the system, allowing users to sync their calender and meeting reminders from their mobile device. ACO Tech says the system will use the information and provide users with a suggested departure time to make sure they arrive on time.
In-car payments, dubbed ATLAS Pay, will also be added to the in-car OS by the first half of next year, allowing users to make payments and transactions securely without leaving their cars. This is a first in the local automotive industry and will be powered by Fasspay.
ATLAS Pay will also be included in the aforementioned ATLAS Auto app, which will arrive sooner in Q4 2021. Available for download from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Huawei AppGallery on mobile devices, the app allows users to integrate several e-wallet platforms into a single one. Additionally, users can browse and purchase services via an online mall and discover news and other information.
More importantly, the app also handles telematics functions, allowing users to control vehicle functions remotely or to check up on the status of their cars. You can even sync the app to your wearable devices from Q1 2022 to stay connected to your vehicle and send friend invitations to be picked up.
“The ATLAS is intelligent, proactive and humanised. The ecosystem 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,” said Li Pu, CEO of ACO Tech.
Looking at the images provided by ACO Tech, it looks like the Iriz and Persona will be the first to benefit from ATLAS, but it isn’t known if the OS will be rolled out to the X50 and X70 – we’ll have to check with Proton and report back. What are your thoughts on ATLAS? Share them in the comments below.
GALLERY: ATLAS infotainment OS
GALLERY: ATLAS Auto app
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