ACO Tech, a Malaysian-based software company, has unveiled its new car infotainment operating system (OS) – known as ACO Tech Local Automotive Services, or ATLAS for short. What is notable about this newly introduced platform is that it will soon be featured in Global Key User Interface (GKUI) infotainment systems found in upcoming cars by local automotive manufacturer Proton.
Unlike Proton’s current Android 8-powered GKUI featured in existing cars such as the X70, X50, Iris and Persona, the new ATLAS system is based on Android 9. However, like the current platform, it does not feature Google-related services or apps offered via Play Store. Instead, users may obtain content and apps through its proprietary store, known as A-Store.
That being said, ATLAS does come with several smart and convenient features that further enhances a car’s onboard GKUI experience. These include offering a variety of audio services, AI-enhanced voice commands, navigation, in-car payment capability, and even remote connectivity via a companion mobile app, known as ATLAS Auto. The system is also capable of notifying the user of any potential hazards such as extreme weather and even tyre punctures, although the latter is only available to specific car models.
On the entertainment front, featured onboard the OS are local music streaming services including JOOX and Astro’s SYOK platform. There’s no mention of other popular streaming apps such as Spotify or Apple Music at this time, and it is not known if ACO Tech plans to incorporate them in the near future.
The voice recognition functions on ATLAS are AI-powered, which has the enhanced capabilities to recognise “Malaysian English” at varying tones and speeds in order to comply with certain commands. Basically, this allows it to understand commands spoken in our all-familiar local slang, accent, and style of pronouncing certain words – although we can’t tell the extent of its capabilities since we’ve not actually tried it ourselves. It is also worth noting that this feature isn’t entirely new, as ACO Tech had previously introduced the same speech recognition solution in the existing GKUI platform’s “Hi Proton” function. Through voice recognition, ATLAS is able to bring up several onboard functions such as navigation, in-vehicle features, and entertainment.
The new OS comes with its own proprietary ATLAS Map app that features both online and offline navigation, with the former relying on an active internet and GPS connection and the latter using its onboard map data. For convenience, the app also provides users with real-time traffic information and weather updates, which is useful for planning a trip beforehand or to find alternate routes to their desired destination. If the system detects that your vehicle is low on fuel, it can suggest the nearest petrol station that the driver can navigate to.
The next onboard feature on the new OS is ATLAS Pay, which is also Malaysia’s first in-car payment system that is co-developed by ACO Tech and its fintech partner, Fass Payment Solutions (Fasspay). As you may have expected, this enables users to pay for everyday needs without having to disembark from their cars. According to the developer, ATLAS Pay will be available in the ATLAS Auto companion app and subsequently integrated with the infotainment system by the first half of 2022.
Finally, there’s the aforementioned ATLAS Auto companion app for mobile devices, which can be downloaded via Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Huawei AppGallery in the fourth quarter of 2021. The app enables drivers to connect to their cars remotely, offering a universal interface for the vehicle and also value-added features such as ATLAS Mall, ATLAS Discover, and ATLAS Vehicle. ACO Tech explains that ATLAS Mall is a marketplace that allows users to make purchases and reservations while on the move, while ATLAS Discover is an interface showcasing community-generated content which provides users with automotive-related news and information. ATLAS Vehicle, on the other hand, offers drivers the ability to control their car’s functions remotely, as well as providing them with immediate access to its status.
Aside from announcing an expected rollout to future Proton vehicles in 2022, both ACO Tech and the local car manufacturer did not mention a specific release date for ATLAS OS, or the potential vehicles that may be equipped with it. In regards to the latter, it appears that the system might make its first debut on next year’s iteration of the Proton X50 – based on ACO Tech’s promotional video for ATLAS (embedded above), although don’t take our word for it.