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What Is Automotive Grade? Here’s What It Means and How We Do It

Would you bet your life on your new laptop? How about the smartphone you carry around in your pocket? Now, would you bet your life on your car?


Whether you’re racing off into the sunset with your brand new car or cruising in your 10-year-old sedan on your daily commute, you’re betting your car will get you to your destination, no matter the environment.

What Is Automotive Grade?

Two things separate the automobile you drive every day and the NavTool Interfaces we build for them — from everyday consumer electronics:

  • Rock-solid reliability — Everyday reliability is important. But your vehicle also requires a consistent level of reliability. It has to work on sizzling summer days and freezing winter nights.
  • Useful lifetime expectancy — The useful life of your phone is two to four years. Your car can last more than a decade.

Running Hot and Cold

Let’s focus on one of the factors that underpin our ability to meet both these targets: the ability to withstand a wide range of temperatures. When a consumer electronic device, such as a smartphone, is subjected to temperatures outside its limited range of tolerance, it may deliver error messages or just shut off.

That’s not an option for automotive grade systems. If the engine will start, people are going to drive. So they need everything from their instrument cluster and navigation screen, to perform without hesitation.

That’s why our automotive solutions are rated to run from -40 to 105 degrees Celsius. It may seem like overkill, but the inside of a closed car can reach extreme temperatures during a hot summer day in many parts of the United States. And cars are sold in every corner of the world, Iceland to Israel, Greenland to Granada.

Tested and Ready

Temperature tolerance is just one of the reasons we spec and test our video interfaces much more vigorously than their consumer-grade counterparts. Our automotive-quality video interfaces are also put through laborious testing so no matter the condition, they function without fail.

Our automotive-quality video interfaces are also put through laborious testing so no matter the condition, they function without fail.

Our process starts with a dedicated production line that eliminates the potential for human error during fabrication. Afterwards our interfaces undergo a 24-hour burn-in process to eliminate any defective units. Anything that doesn’t meet our highest requirements is tossed out. No exceptions.

Built to Last

The process is rigorous, and goes beyond just ensuring our video interfaces will run at all temperatures. Our tests employ demanding specifications for vibration, temperature and humidity.

We perform screening on all of our packaged parts after they’re assembled, that allows us to process and reject devices that show excessive shifts on a number of key parameters. These tests allow us to predict which parts could have reliability problems — and discard them.

To NavTool, all this lengthy testing is well worth the effort to enable automotive grade video interfaces that exceed our customers’ expectations.


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