New car adaptor automatically chooses best signal from DAB+, FM and internet

Radioplayer, the online listening platform run by the BBC and commercial radio, has unveiled a prototype hybrid car adaptor which enables listeners to get maximum choice of radio stations, with minimum tuning fuss.

Speaking at the ‘Next Radio’ Conference in London, Michael Hill, Managing Director of Radioplayer, demonstrated the technology. 

The device scans DAB, DAB+, FM, and internet sources, automatically selecting the best platform to deliver any station. If a signal is lost, it switches seamlessly to the same station on another platform.

The small device, fitted behind the dashboard, is controlled by a dedicated app on the driver’s smartphone which, positioned safely in a dashboard cradle, acts as the radio interface.

Safety is a key factor in its design, which is as simple to use as a car radio. A listener can swipe anywhere on the screen to move through their pre-set stations. A voice identifies each station, to minimise distraction. A tap anywhere on the screen stops and re-starts the radio.

Using the system, drivers can also ‘Bluetooth’ their own smartphone music collections, take hands-free calls, listen safely to inbound text messages, and receive instant audio travel news, customised by GPS to their location and direction of travel.


In the UK, with 20 per cent of radio listening taking place in the car, and some 27 million vehicles still not able to receive DAB radio, this technology could present a solution to one of the biggest hurdles faced by the radio industry, in the move towards digital.

Michael Hill said, “We’re proud to be prototyping the next generation of radios, on behalf of the whole industry. Simplicity has always been one of the great joys of our medium, and we want to work with chip manufacturers, car companies, and audio firms to re-simplify radio”.