Radioplayer has introduced Reference Radio, a prototype touchscreen radio for dashboards, designed to show how smart hybrid technology can transform in-car listening. The hybrid prototype is reportedly multiplatform, able to play DAB digital radio, FM, and Internet radio streams. The company says that unlike most modern car radios, the Reference Radio shows a single list of stations across all those platforms. This removes the need to select different sources such as DAB, FM, or Internet first—the driver just taps a station logo to play it, and the system does the rest.

The new technology was demonstrated at an industry event in Berlin, in front of an audience of radio professionals and representatives from car companies. The interface was shown fully working, on a 7-inch Android touchscreen (the size that is often seen in modern car dashboards).

Safety has been a key factor in the design, reducing driver distraction with an easy, intuitive interface. A large display shows what’s playing, and the driver switches between favorite stations by tapping a logo, swiping the screen, or pressing the buttons on the steering wheel. In the next phase of development, voice control will be tested, along with podcasts and personalization.

Michael Hill, Managing Director at Radioplayer, said, “We’ve distilled years of research, development, and testing into this prototype, which will be the catalyst for a long-overdue conversation between broadcasters and car companies. The Radioplayer Reference Radio shows that radio can be simple, smart, and sexy in the connected cars of the future.”

Radioplayer says Reference Radio is the culmination of years of research and development with industry partners such as WorldDAB, Digital Radio UK, RadioDNS, and Audi. The prototype shows how broadcasters such as the BBC, Global, Bauer, and dozens of international radio groups want their stations to appear in the car radios of the future.

Car companies, equipment manufacturers, and all interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the prototype. Future versions of the design could be available to them to adapt for their dashboards, along with feeds of Radioplayer station data to power the experience. This is delivered via the WRAPI (Worldwide Radioplayer API).