Aston Martin has been in talks with LeTV to explore “the two companies working together on research projects ranging from connected car technologies through to manufacturing consultation on new electric vehicles,” according to an official statement shared by InsideEVs. For readers confused by the LeTV–Faraday Future connection, yes, LeTV was started by the very same Jia Yueting who took a large portion of his earnings from LeTV out to create the mysterious connected EV manufacturer Faraday Future, and it appears that the passion for EVs is not fully consumed with the Faraday Future venture.
What is interesting about this newly announced arrangement is that it is an agreement directly with LeTV — not Faraday Future — and that it is so broad in scope.
Let’s break each of those things down a bit more, as the Chinese EV manufacturer space is going to get a bit crazy over the next few months, possibly even years as investors flood into the ripe battery and EV markets.
LeTV and Aston Martin shared a YouTube video that uses all sorts of fun graphics and futuristic images to paint the vision of what the future of premium infotainment looks like. Not one to be taken in by fun graphics alone, the video thankfully drops quite a few noteworthy nuggets.
- Advanced User Interface (UI) — Throughout the video, the large center console and several secondary displays pull up phone calls, media options, and vehicle status information. While this feels strikingly similar to the infamous 17″ Tesla touch screen, the specific user interface looks sexier and more integrated across devices. Granted, this is just a video and not even a concept car, but speaks to what we can expect to see at the Consumer Electronics Show. Jia Yueting dropped a hint on his Sina Weibo page that we might get a first glimpse of the first fruits of the partnership in the form of an Aston Martin Rapide S connected car concept.
- Customizable UI — Many cell phones allow for custom themes, skins, launchers, icons, etc, and this new venture brings that level of customization to the car.
- Satellite connectivity — The video shares that the infotainment system will be 7-continent ready along with an animation showing satellites buzzing around the earth. This is a surprising diversion from what other auto manufacturers are doing, primarily using 3G/LTE cellular data connectivity.
- Multi-screen capability — The new infotainment system brings a “six-screen ecosystem that is seamlessly connected,” which counterintuitively does not refer to six screens in the car but rather, an ecosystem that spans mobile phones, tablets, home computers, TV, the movie theater, AND the car. This hyper-connectivity across devices is also unsurprisingly one of the key tenets of Faraday Future.
- Back Seat Theater — Rear seat multimedia connectivity is combined with several screens up front for the driver and front passenger.
- Social Interaction with other travelers — Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communication allows friends to chat using their vehicles. This particular functionality only makes sense if the driver is leveraging autonomous driving, since, otherwise, it would just be a safety hazard and leads me to believe that more technical partnerships are underway to explore exactly this tech.
Finally, Jia shared on Sina Weibo that the partnership includes Aston Martin producing a LeTV electric car (via InsideEVs):
“Jia [Yueting] said on its Sina Weibo on Friday morning that Aston Martin will be the OEM for Letv’s first electric car. The car has completed testing in the US and a small scale trial production is on the horizon, the company said at a news conference in Beijing in late October.”
Images, Video Credit: LeTV