Radarscope & Apple CarPlay - Why doesn't it work?

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Mar 8, 2009
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Meadville PA
Just a word to the designers of Radarscope...sure would be nice if Radarscope was compatible with Apple Carplay! Erks me that I've a got a new $30,000 video screen in front of me and the one app that's NOT compatible with carplay is the one I need most! HINT! HINT! Anyone know if ANY of the current good radar apps are carplay friendly?
 
May 18, 2013
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My understanding is that Apple restricts Car Play apps to audio-focused primarily non-visual apps in order to avoid introducing distractions into the car. I would be surprised if they ever approve a radar app.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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stormhighway.com
The stock head units in cars are fairly restricted on what apps they will allow from either Android or IOS. Even if you could install Radarscope on one, they'd probably block it from being viewable unless the car was stopped and in park. We had a thread here about aftermarket head units that are less restrictive, but from what I've read (on Subaru forums at least) those probably won't be fully compatible with the car's integrated systems (backup camera, etc).

There might be an app with radar overlay similar to some of the Garmin devices, though it would be pretty limited in function (reflectivity only) and would require an additional subscription cost.
 
Jun 12, 2019
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Michigan
The stock head units in cars are fairly restricted on what apps they will allow from either Android or IOS.
This is very true. In my previous career, I worked for one of the Detroit Big 3 automakers, specifically on the UI design of in-vehicle infotainment systems, and you'd be surprised (and probably frustrated) at how many rules, regulations, laws, governing bodies, best practices, lawyers, associations, trade groups, and bureaucrats shape what you see in your instrument cluster, center stack/console, and (if you have one) touch screen display. When CarPlay and Android Auto entered the scene, the thought was that they would be less restricted than the OEM-designed stuff, but it's looking like they have to appease the same crowds (maybe to a lesser degree? I left the auto industry in late 2016, right as that was all ramping up, so I'm not 100% sure). Either way, this is a very heavily litigated area, and as a result, most people involved with the infotainment stuff are forced to play it very safe.

There might be an app with radar overlay similar to some of the Garmin devices, though it would be pretty limited in function (reflectivity only) and would require an additional subscription cost.
SiriusXM Travel Link has some weather screens, including a Continental US radar mosaic, but I'm fairly certain that wouldn't cut it for this community. I also don't know if it's available via app, or if it has to be part of the OEM offering (the latter is how it used to be done).
 
Jun 12, 2019
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Michigan
I am sure there must be some way to hack CarPlay or the Android version.
I would never condone that, BUT...

From what I know about it from my time working on it, both the OEM side and the Apple/Android side are protected via separate APIs, and the OEM side works through a whole clustermess of different systems and vehicle networks that speak different languages, requiring a PhD in WTF to map out (how it actually works is still a mystery to me, and I was allowed to know!). And even if you managed to do that, the number of lawyers involved in these products is mind-boggling. Not sure if anyone would want to poke that bear. (That bear being the lawyers... not the other kind of bear... in the cage... that we tend to, well... you know.)

Welcome to the world of vehicle infotainment systems.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
It's crazy that radar wouldn't be allowed to work with Apple Car Play just because it is visual. After all, what about the most common visual of all, the various GPS and map applications? If they are allowed, why not radar? My Volvo has native functionality that downloads weather watches and warnings, that's a visual too. Well, nobody ever said government regulations are logical, but hopefully things will change to allow radar. Maybe it's something that will ultimately be allowed because it could actually *add* value as to safety (i.e., a driver could instantly visualize whether a severe storm or even just heavy rain is impacting the highway in the direction they are headed). Could just be that adding radar apps hasn't been a priority. Does the developer have to submit a request, or does Apple proactively evaluate every app as Car Play "yes" or "no"??
 
May 18, 2013
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Does the developer have to submit a request, or does Apple proactively evaluate every app as Car Play "yes" or "no"??
There are different design guidelines for CarPlay than for other Apple platforms, so it seems like it would be a waste of time/money for Apple to evaluate every app for CarPlay unless the developer requested it (but since I don't pay $99 a year to be an Apple developer, I can't say for sure since I can't access their submittal form). Originally Apple only allowed Audio, Navigation, Automaker, and Messaging/VOIP apps on CarPlay. Now their user interface design guidelines have dropped Navigation, but it still appears in their CarPlay documentation. I should note that their navigation guidelines prohibit interactive user interface elements on a map. It also contains a provision that a developer "must be open and responsive to feedback in the event that Apple or automakers have input to design or functionality." I seems risky for an app developer to spend time and money developing a radar app for CarPlay when Apple will likely reject it and if they do approve it they can always come back and tell you to change something.

CarPlay UI: Introduction - CarPlay - Human Interface Guidelines - Apple Developer
macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS UI: Human Interface Guidelines - Design - Apple Developer
CarPlay Developer Documentation: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/carplay/
 
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Jun 12, 2019
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Michigan
It's crazy that radar wouldn't be allowed to work with Apple Car Play just because it is visual.
I don't think that's the only counterargument, although the Apple UI guidelines, as Randy provided a link to, do emphasize minimal interactions, minimal visual display information, and guide developers toward more of a voice-based UI using Siri. Radar apps really aren't well suited to work that way. You could argue that navigation (using voice guidance) is; even though in practice, we know that the strictly voice-based interaction isn't all that perfect. Automakers do get their say as well, and many (including my former employer) have their own in-house driver distraction mitigation requirements that go beyond government regulations and AAM guidelines, having spent considerable time and money researching and developing them with the goal of avoiding lawsuits. Google the VIRTTEX driving simulator to see the one my team used. (VIRTTEX, not VORTTEX. I know... I know...). As an app developer, you would need to develop one CarPlay-enabled app, not one for each OEM, so you would have to design your UI to the lowest most restrictive common denominator. Anyway, I do recall the excitement to get a standardized in-vehicle app platform was tempered when the Pandora's box of rules and regulations that comes with in-vehicle UI got opened and attached to the mix.

Maybe it's something that will ultimately be allowed because it could actually *add* value as to safety (i.e., a driver could instantly visualize whether a severe storm or even just heavy rain is impacting the highway in the direction they are headed). Could just be that adding radar apps hasn't been a priority.
It could be some existing mapping app has, or will be, using radar overlays in the future and contracts may prevent competing apps. No doubt it would be the low resolution, often not updated, worthless consumer radar that some mapping apps already feature.
...and this is the other part. Automakers are going to look at what makes them money, and make decisions based on that. I know that many of us would like a good radar app that shows up on the infotainment screen, myself included. Heck, I can get stopped (as a primary offense) and issued a ticket in my state just for looking at a phone, tablet, or (presumably) laptop while driving, even if my driving is perfect while doing so. [EDIT: I think the law says I need to be holding it in my hands to get stopped. Not adventurous enough to find out.] If that exact same info is on an infotainment screen, then as long as my driving is fine, everything is A-OK. But at the end of the day, how much of the car-buying market do all of us together actually represent? The marketing managers are going to insert themselves (and their $$) into accelerating development of what they think the car-buying market wants, and I don't think the stuff we're talking about is, well, on their radar. Sorry for the bad pun. Knowing what I know from my time in automotive, *if* we see any vehicle-enabled weather app, I would venture a guess to say it would be from someone like AccuWeather or TWC (and very consumer grade), but I'd love to be wrong on that.

Warren brings up another point. SiriusXM already has some very basic weather information (including consumer radar) in in their Travel Link product (paid subscription required). This is an auxiliary revenue stream for automakers. If another app comes along that provides the same information for free, it could eat into that revenue stream, and I don't see the OEMs getting behind that. As Warren alluded to, it may very well be part of the contractual agreement that SXM is to be the only source for in-vehicle weather info through some date, though I clearly wouldn't know the ins and outs of those contracts.

FWIW, here's what the SXM radar product looks like. This is from my 2010 vehicle. It hasn't changed much since.
SXM-TLR.jpg
 
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But they do allow google maps to work...which IMO is was more distracting.
It's been a while since I've driven a car with CarPlay, but I don't remember Google Maps being that distracting. From what I remember, all commands had to be done by voice, and it did not allow you to use the touch screen to input destinations, etc. Aside from having a visual map showing on the screen (which is no different than having a standalone Garmin, for example), I never found it distracting at all to use. In fact, a standalone GPS can accept more touch inputs than Google Maps on CarPlay from my experience.
 
Mar 8, 2009
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Meadville PA
The car in question is a 2019 Sub Outback. It has the worst head unit I've ever encountered in any new car. I trade in every 2 to 3 years, so I've seen a few but this thing is just poorly designed, has an overly sensitive touch screen and some really weird oddities. For instance, a wave of the hand anywhere near the screen changes the radio channel. When you start the car up, the radio comes on regardless of where it was set when you parked it, even if you made sure you turned the radio OFF and ALL the way down, it will still start when the car starts.....AND it takes about 30 seconds before it will allow you to adjust the volume or turn it off. Not just my car either, lots of similar complaints on the subaru owners forums. So as a substitute for carplay radar, I mount a tablet running radarscope right over the head unit. Works, its just a PIA to have yet another device to worry about.
 

Gary Skaggs

Enthusiast
Feb 27, 2015
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Norman
Lots of valid postive remarks and a far amount of realistic buzzkill here.

Look at it from the standpoint of liability for RadarScope, some fool will have a wreck and sue DTN for damages in the millions. Unless you want to jailbreak it, just take your existing iPad and mount it with any one of a number of vehicle mounts and pair it with the now-ubiquitous in-vehicle WiFi or bluetooth to your hotspot-phone.

My opinion (like *, everyone has one) is that Radarscope won't appear on any unjailbroke vehicle streams.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
My opinion - if Apple approaches RS and says "We want to give you CarPlay access" then RS will be on CarPlay ;) They've made it clear that they cannot do anything until Apple comes to them.
 

John Wetter

SN President
Staff member
Dec 11, 2005
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Maple Grove, MN
www.WxChaser.com
As mentioned, CarPlay access is for specif app categories only. It is a closely held entitlement due to the involved regulation. Navigation, audio, and just a few others are the only apps allowed this entitlement.
 
May 25, 2014
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There is always option B - Double-DIN Chinese no-name Android head unit that just acts like a cell phone with all the safety features turned off.