Aston Martin goes digital with Autolink Rapide S at CES 2016

Published: 07 January 2016

► Aston Martin Autolink Rapide at CES 2016
► New digital displays and cloud connectivity
► Technical collaboration with Chinese firm Letv

Aston Martin has joined the ‘connected car’ party, displaying a Rapide S equipped with a new internet-linked interface and shiny digital displays at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

It’s the fruit of a collaboration with Letv, a technology company that Aston began working with in 2015.

The Autolink Rapide S is so-called because it’s fitted with Letv’s ‘internet brain’ system of the same name.

What’s going on inside the Autolink Rapide S?

The bits you can’t see include remote vehicle monitoring and cloud-based apps and services via an on-board wi-fi system. Aston’s existing HMI (human-machine interface) system has been updated with Letv’s speech recognition function for voice commands, too.

The bits you can are a new instrument panel and centre console. The latter now houses a 13in high-definition touchscreen, and the Rapide’s fetching analogue dials have inevitably been ditched for a fashionable 12in digital instrument panel.

A sign of things to come, no doubt; ‘The integration of Letv advanced connected technologies is a natural progression as we look to the future demands of our customers,’ says Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer.

What is Letv?

A Chinese entertainment and technology company, well-established in the media streaming industry. The Autolink system is the company’s first product developed specifically for the automotive market.

Aston Martin says it plans to work together with Letv on various research projects, developing electric vehicles and connected car services. Read more about Aston’s future electric vehicle plans here.

Incidentally, Letv is also backing the ambitious new electric vehicle outfit Faraday Future. It’s understood that Letv intends to tap into the automotive industry’s future potential revenue by streaming advertising and video services into cars’ interior screens.

With that in mind, look out for the rumoured Aston Martin Rapide S Netflix edition later this year.

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer