Digital Britain’s goal is to ensure that all new cars either have digital radio sold as standard from 2014, or can be upgraded cheaply.
Car manufacturers had been reluctant to participate because the UK is one of the few countries in Europe that has adopted digital radio and the motor industry wants to manufacture on a pan-European basis. Complicating the situation further has been the refusal of France and Germany to join the UK’s DAB (digital audio broadcasting) standard.
France has committed to switching to digital radio by the middle of the next decade. Technological advances mean that it is possible to make a single $15 (£9) chipset that can handle different types of digital radio signal, allowing the same radio to be put in cars made for Britain, France and Germany.
The car manufacturers and radio station owners agreed, in conjunction with a series of government agencies who attended a meeting at the Radio Center in London last week, that they would form a series of working groups to decide how to achieve the 2014 target.
Ford and Vauxhall, Britain’s leading vehicle manufacturers, said that they would sign up to the digital upgrade. Stuart Harris, Vauxhall’s product development director, said: “We have a plan that fits in with where we are going. On our Astra and Insignia models, digital radio is already either built in or a £150 upgrade option on the lower-end cars, and by 2013 it will be available across all our models.”
Source: The Times.