The author is president of WorldDAB.
TURIN, Italy — Digital radio in cars has made tremendous progress over the past 12 months — with one third of new cars in Europe now sold with DAB radios installed.
These figures are about to rise significantly following the adoption of the European Electronic Communications Code in December 2018.
This EU Directive requires all new car radios sold within the European Union to be capable of receiving digital terrestrial radio by the end of 2020.
This is a massive endorsement of digital radio in the car and will apply equally to all EU member states — both those with established DAB markets and those which have yet to launch national services.
The first countries have already introduced legislation. Italian law will require all new radios (automotive and consumer) to have DAB+ from January 2020. France — whose rapid rollout of DAB continues to sweep across the country — has implemented and triggered a receiver law requiring all new car radios released from July 2020 to include DAB+ digital radio capabilities. Other markets, including Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, are developing their plans for transposing the EU directive into national legislation.
Having completed much of the groundwork to secure DAB in cars, WorldDAB and the WorldDAB Automotive Working Group (AWG) are now setting clear goals to improve the in-car digital radio experience and overcome any hurdles related to the implementation of digital radio in the car. There are three key areas of focus.
First, one of our key priorities is to improve the user interface — a vital element in the driver’s experience of DAB radio. In February, the AWG published an updated version of its User Experience (UX) Design Guidelines. The guidelines are designed to help automotive manufacturers and broadcasters deliver the best digital radio experience in the car, by providing drivers with an intuitive navigation system that allows them to easily find the stations they are looking for.
Second, we are facilitating cross-industry collaboration to ensure that automotive DAB+ receiver performance is continuously optimised. Particular focus is placed on ensuring that car radios and adaptors are equipped with antennas that deliver a consistent, high-quality listening experience to drivers.
Third, we are committed to building a fully digital future for radio, with DAB at the heart of a multi-platform strategy. The development of hybrid radio – which combines radio via broadcast and IP networks – is essential to deliver the best possible audio experience in connected cars.
The latest market report published by WorldDAB is testament to the rapid development of DAB in the car. In Italy, 46% of new cars are now sold with DAB+ compared with 32% in 2017, while in Australia that same figure stands at 69%, up from 47% in 2017.
All these topics, and the impressive growth and development of DAB will be covered during the WorldDAB Automotive 2019, WorldDAB’s annual event that seeks to promote the uptake of digital terrestrial radio in cars across Europe.
This year’s event will take place on Thursday June 20 at the Lingotto Centre in Turin, Italy. More than 200 senior executives from across the radio and automotive industries are set to attend the conference that will address key issues affecting DAB and digital radio in the car. Click here to find out more.