Auto Electronics

Toshiba adds 80 GB automotive hard disk drive

Toshiba Storage Device Division has expanded its automotive-grade HDD line to include a 2.5-inch single-platter 80 GB offering for advanced navigation, in-car entertainment, and vehicle connectivity.

Toshiba said it used perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) to boost areal recording density and raise storage capacity. An advanced aerodynamic design for the head slider, which “floats” the flying head on a cushion of air, keeping it at a constant distance from the disk, results in greater reliability to data read and write in low pressure conditions at high altitude, thus Toshiba has raised the altitude specification of its automotive HDD line by 1,200 meters, to 5,500 meters for its 80 GB MK8050GAC and its 40 GB MK4050GAC. It has also improved vibration resistance by 50%, to 29.4m/s2 (5-50Hz) thanks to a highly accurate head-positioning system. Toshiba said its drives now offer lighter moving parts and a highly rigid enclosure.

The firm said it’s shipped more than seven million automotive-grade HDDs for OEM and aftermarket applications since 2001.

"Car navigation systems built around fast, high-capacity HDDs are getting more popular in the Japanese and European markets, a trend that is soon expected to come to North America," said Toshio Magome, senior director, Techno Systems Research Co., Ltd..

Toshiba SDD product marketing manager Scott Wright said new opportunities are emerging for HDDs in cars as China begins to deploy navigation solutions and the United States and European markets gain momentum in integrating high-end infotainment solutions to add differentiation to top-of-the-line models. Japan continues its global leadership in digital integration with navigation, DVR and other entertainment options.

Wright added that the standardization of in-dash LCD screens has created a platform for car manufacturers to deliver more digital options in the car, such as driver assistance readouts, digital music library management and enhanced navigation with expanded point-of-interest and real-time traffic updates. Rear-seat entertainment supporting video content and gaming options represents a growing trend as car manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers work to extend the digital world into the car and create differentiation with consumers.

Samples of the 80 GB drives are available. Production is scheduled to start in March.

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