By Lisa Johnston
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MONTREAL — Automotive Data Systems (ADS) has outlined a roadmap to expand the compatibility of its $169-suggested iDatalink Maestro RR OEM-integration module with more vehicles and expand the module’s feature set.
The module retains the functionality of factory infotainment systems when connected between a vehicle’s databus and select 2012-2013 Kenwood double-DIN A/V and A/V-navigation head units equipped with a touchscreen. Vehicle-specific T-harnesses are also available to simplify the install.
The module is currently compatible with the OEM Sync systems in most Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models for model years starting 2006.
A software update expected in March will add Maestro RR compatibility with newer Ford vehicles, such as the F-Series, Edge, Explorer, Focus and Escape, when used with 2013 Kenwood head units.
In the second quarter, ADS plans to offer a software update enabling the Maestro RR to retain the functionality of GM’s OnStar system and infotainment systems in most GM models from 2006 and later.
Also in the works for 2013 are software releases for retaining Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment, emergency-response and tracking-system functions. Other software updates this year will retain OEM infotainment features in Volkswagen, Honda, Mazda and Toyota vehicles. ADS didn’t specify a more precise timetable.
Besides retaining OEM-system functionality, the ADS module will, when used with Kenwood’s 2013 heads, also let users display such vehicle-system gauges as RPMs and coolant temperature. The 2013 Kenwood heads will also display climate-control information and warning messages for such things as open doors, an open trunk and tire pressure. The heads will also display diagnostic trouble codes and lets users reset them.
Not all gauges and information, however, will be available for every vehicle.
In vehicles with secondary factory displays that remain after installation — including the F-150, Fusion and Mustang — Maestro will keep the screen alive and populate it with data from the Kenwood radio, said Mark Rutledge, ADS’s audio engineering director.
In Ford vehicles, current Maestro RR software retains the Sync system, including voice control over Bluetooth, hands-free Bluetooth audio streaming, and connected media players plugged into the factory’s USB connection. The install also retains control of the factory’s steeringwheel- mounted controls and enables Kenwood head units to display metadata from the systems and send control signals to them.
In GM vehicles, the Maestro RR will retain OnStar safety and convenience features, hands-free Bluetooth, OEM XM satellite tuner, warning chimes, steering-wheel controls, and OEM amplifiers including fading of and access to the DSP settings of factory Bose sound systems, said Rutledge. For GM vehicles with parking sensors, a visual distance-indicator screen will show drivers where the detected object is and how close you are to it, he said.
In Chryslers, the module will retain Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment, emergency-response and tracking system, including OEM amplifiers.
For select Honda, Toyota and Mazda vehicles, ADS hasn’t finalized the capabilities of its planned software upgrades. These vehicles, however, have secondary displays, OEM satellite-radio tuners, media players, Bluetooth hands-free, and premium amplifiers. “We believe we will be able to retain all of these things and provide an unprecedented level of integration between the car and the aftermarket radio,” Rutledge said. ADS did not specify the specific Chrysler, VW, Honda, Mazda and Toyota vehicles that will be compatible with the coming software updates.
The Maestro module plugs into a dedicated Maestro RR port in Kenwood’s six compatible 2013 head units, whereas the seven compatible 2012 head units used their SiriusXM ports to connect to the module. As a result, the 2013 heads enable the installation of both a Maestro RR and an aftermarket satellite radio tuner in the same vehicle, ADS said.
Updated information on compatible vehicles and preserved OEM features are available for individual vehicles at iDatalink.com/Maestro.
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