astonius

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As we all know, Rivian in their infinite wisdom believes they can build a better software experience than Apple or Google for in-car infotainment. As an owner I can now definitively say at this moment and for the foreseeable future that is not true. They simply lack the market presence and development resources to target all of the possible media and navigation applications their customers want to use. I know I am not alone in this analysis, and like many I am constantly petitioning Rivian to add CarPlay and Android Auto support. However, I'm not waiting around crossing my fingers for it to happen.

I purchased and installed the RoadTop 8.8" display. It is a Linux-based standalone and portable media unit typically used to add modern features to older vehicles, or in this case a brand-new, modern truck built by a new company with too much hubris. It has a wide screen display, which I prefer over the typical 4:3 units. It supports both CarPlay and Android Auto, wired via USB-A or wireless. It can connect to the vehicle's sound system using three different methods: an aux jack, an FM transmitter, or a bluetooth connection. It is powered by 12V. The design is better than most, though not perfect. The bezels are large, and it has a bit of a "chin" like an iMac. The screen resolution is also low (1280 x 480), but it's readable. The price is reasonable in my opinion at $290 shipped. It does come with a camera which is a waste in this application. It would be nice to see a SKU without it for a lower price.

Setup and installation was simple and straightforward. I mounted the screen above the existing Rivian infotainment using the included suction mount with boom arm. I then ran the power cable to the 12V port beneath the center air vents and powered on the screen. I removed the Rivian Audio connection from my iPhone and connected the iPhone via bluetooth to the RoadTop unit. It prompted me to start CarPlay, and within seconds it was up and running. I then connected the RoadTop as a bluetooth device to the Rivian infotainment and set the output appropriately. Boom, wireless CarPlay in a Rivian.

The 12V power is tied to the lock state of the truck. If the truck is unlocked, the unit powers on. If it's locked it powers down. Startup time is relatively quick (~8 seconds from power up), and it can be set to boot directly into CarPlay. It's responsive, and the audio quality sounds comparable to the direct bluetooth connection to the Rivian infotainment. It also supports screen mirroring via AirPlay or MirrorLink, which is a nice touch. When parked you can easily stream video from your phone.

The only big issue I've had is occasional choppiness with the bluetooth connection from the RoadTop to the Rivian. I know the problem lies here because other outputs work fine. It's intermittent, and reconnecting often fixes the issue. I asked RoadTop support about this. They sent me a firmware update to try, but I can't seem to get it to install. I'm waiting on a follow-up from them now.

B2757344-0EA8-4711-B6F4-7E19E8DA19CE_1_102_o.jpeg

DB60D866-F7BC-45CE-9183-F5961BBDD634_1_102_o.jpeg

87AF0CC1-A795-4083-84E0-0832A73F0B66_1_102_o.jpeg


And now I'll attempt to preempt many of the comments...

Why not just use a phone mount?
I prefer the CarPlay interface when driving. The whole point of CarPlay was to prevent phone use while driving. I also don't like putting my phone in a dedicated spot every time I get in a car. If a phone mount works for you, great! I just wanted to show an alternative.

What if Rivian adds CarPlay in the future?
Fantastic, I welcome that. Obviously this solution is not ideal. Nothing would make me happier than seeing them come to their senses on phone integration.

This looks dumb. Do you really need CarPlay this bad?
Look, I don't love having to resort to this. I agree it's not beautiful or elegant. The power cord and mount are not pleasing to look at. Having yet another screen in the truck is redundant. But ultimately I will sacrifice aesthetic for function. The native infotainment does not serve me well. CarPlay does. If you're happy with the system in its current state, good for you. For those of us who aren't this is an option.

 

moosehead

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That’s a big thumbs up. Nicely done and well played.

You seeing this Tony?
 

AdamUCF

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I like it but my wife said "No. No way. Too many screens" 🫤
 

sevengroove

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As we all know, Rivian in their infinite wisdom believes they can build a better software experience than Apple or Google for in-car infotainment. As an owner I can now definitively say at this moment and for the foreseeable future that is not true. They simply lack the market presence and development resources to target all of the possible media and navigation applications their customers want to use. I know I am not alone in this analysis, and like many I am constantly petitioning Rivian to add CarPlay and Android Auto support. However, I'm not waiting around crossing my fingers for it to happen.

I purchased and installed the RoadTop 8.8" display. It is a Linux-based standalone and portable media unit typically used to add modern features to older vehicles, or in this case a brand-new, modern truck built by a new company with too much hubris. It has a wide screen display, which I prefer over the typical 4:3 units. It supports both CarPlay and Android Auto, wired via USB-A or wireless. It can connect to the vehicle's sound system using three different methods: an aux jack, an FM transmitter, or a bluetooth connection. It is powered by 12V. The design is better than most, though not perfect. The bezels are large, and it has a bit of a "chin" like an iMac. The screen resolution is also low (1280 x 480), but it's readable. The price is reasonable in my opinion at $290 shipped. It does come with a camera which is a waste in this application. It would be nice to see a SKU without it for a lower price.

Setup and installation was simple and straightforward. I mounted the screen above the existing Rivian infotainment using the included suction mount with boom arm. I then ran the power cable to the 12V port beneath the center air vents and powered on the screen. I removed the Rivian Audio connection from my iPhone and connected the iPhone via bluetooth to the RoadTop unit. It prompted me to start CarPlay, and within seconds it was up and running. I then connected the RoadTop as a bluetooth device to the Rivian infotainment and set the output appropriately. Boom, wireless CarPlay in a Rivian.

The 12V power is tied to the lock state of the truck. If the truck is unlocked, the unit powers on. If it's locked it powers down. Startup time is relatively quick (~8 seconds from power up), and it can be set to boot directly into CarPlay. It's responsive, and the audio quality sounds comparable to the direct bluetooth connection to the Rivian infotainment. It also supports screen mirroring via AirPlay or MirrorLink, which is a nice touch. When parked you can easily stream video from your phone.

The only big issue I've had is occasional choppiness with the bluetooth connection from the RoadTop to the Rivian. I know the problem lies here because other outputs work fine. It's intermittent, and reconnecting often fixes the issue. I asked RoadTop support about this. They sent me a firmware update to try, but I can't seem to get it to install. I'm waiting on a follow-up from them now.

B2757344-0EA8-4711-B6F4-7E19E8DA19CE_1_102_o.jpeg

DB60D866-F7BC-45CE-9183-F5961BBDD634_1_102_o.jpeg

87AF0CC1-A795-4083-84E0-0832A73F0B66_1_102_o.jpeg


And now I'll attempt to preempt many of the comments...

Why not just use a phone mount?
I prefer the CarPlay interface when driving. The whole point of CarPlay was to prevent phone use while driving. I also don't like putting my phone in a dedicated spot every time I get in a car. If a phone mount works for you, great! I just wanted to show an alternative.

What if Rivian adds CarPlay in the future?
Fantastic, I welcome that. Obviously this solution is not ideal. Nothing would make me happier than seeing them come to their senses on phone integration.

This looks dumb. Do you really need CarPlay this bad?
Look, I don't love having to resort to this. I agree it's not beautiful or elegant. The power cord and mount are not pleasing to look at. Having yet another screen in the truck is redundant. But ultimately I will sacrifice aesthetic for function. The native infotainment does not serve me well. CarPlay does. If you're happy with the system in its current state, good for you. For those of us who aren't this is an option.
I hope you’re on Twitter because you should totally tweet this and @ Rivian, RJ, and any account associated with the company.
 

Gshenderson

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Solves a lot of problems. Except one - you’re still constrained by Bluetooth streaming for audio which doesn’t maximize the capabilities of the Meridian sound system. Nicely done though!
 


electruck

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Solves a lot of problems. Except one - you’re still constrained by Bluetooth streaming for audio which doesn’t maximize the capabilities of the Meridian sound system. Nicely done though!
I might seriously consider this for Waze, Google Maps, ABRP, etc if Rivian doesn't get their nav sorted.
 

C.R. Rivian

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Whatever floats your boat...I have no problem with the built-in nav currently, but there is something to be said for going with what you know. Given that Amazon (that's really who we are talking about here, not Rivian, per se) has signed a deal to provide their software suite to all Stellantis vehicles, I think we see a real commitment to be a major player in this space with ongoing improvements. If you don't recognize Stellantis, they are huge globally:
1655529607584.png
 

Acoustic71

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Whatever floats your boat...I have no problem with the built-in nav currently, but there is something to be said for going with what you know. Given that Amazon (that's really who we are talking about here, not Rivian, per se) has signed a deal to provide their software suite to all Stellantis vehicles, I think we see a real commitment to be a major player in this space with ongoing improvements. If you don't recognize Stellantis, they are huge globally:
1655529607584.png
OK. But what does that mean for the end-user experience? Not trying to pull your chain. Will it integrate with Android or Apple? I've just never heard of theis company and have no idea of its capabilities.
 

C.R. Rivian

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OK. But what does that mean for the end-user experience? Not trying to pull your chain. Will it integrate with Android or Apple? I've just never heard of theis company and have no idea of its capabilities.
Stellantis owns all the car brands noted in the posted image. Rivian uses Alexa and other Amazon provided software, so will all the cited brands. Some major players in this country, huge across the pond. Amazon intends to be a major player in vehicle software. That's why I'm pretty optomistic about the software getting better and better.

In terms of integration (interoperability), eventually the EU will force it, just as they are currently mandating that all phones use the same charging cable (sorry, Apple). The EU is also working to force open Apple's app store and Google Play...our tech companies can't abandon the EU market and will eventually come around...in the meantime, don't hold your breath on interoperability.
 

MisterTea

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I had that exact idea when I heard there was not going to be CarPlay. I will be joining you on this one!
 


electruck

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Whatever floats your boat...I have no problem with the built-in nav currently, but there is something to be said for going with what you know. Given that Amazon (that's really who we are talking about here, not Rivian, per se) has signed a deal to provide their software suite to all Stellantis vehicles, I think we see a real commitment to be a major player in this space with ongoing improvements. If you don't recognize Stellantis, they are huge globally:
1655529607584.png
Well, here's the thing about that. The Alexa Auto SDK provides an Alexa interface into a vehicle's systems, including its nav. That means that if we're not happy with Rivian's current nav data, that's not going to be remedied by enhancements to the Alexa interface to that system.

For reference, here's a quote from the Alexa Auto SDK Navigation Module:
Your integration is responsible for handling navigation actions when notified to do so by the Engine. How these requests are handled is based on your navigation provider.
Over time (ie, many years), Alexa could introduce its own nav system but it will be a long time before it is a serious competitor to the likes of Google, Waze, or Apple. What you will see over the next few years will be deeper Alexa integration with the vehicle but you aren't going to see any Amazon influence on Rivian's own nav system. And technically, Rivian doesn't even provide the "nav", only the UX. The actual nav data and routing are coming from 3rd parties such as MapBox that Rivian licenses and this seems to be where the biggest complaints lie.
 

Acoustic71

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Stellantis owns all the car brands noted in the posted image. Rivian uses Alexa and other Amazon provided software, so will all the cited brands. Some major players in this country, huge across the pond. Amazon intends to be a major player in vehicle software. That's why I'm pretty optomistic about the software getting better and better.

In terms of integration (interoperability), eventually the EU will force it, just as they are currently mandating that all phones use the same charging cable (sorry, Apple). The EU is also working to force open Apple's app store and Google Play...our tech companies can't abandon the EU market and will eventually come around...in the meantime, don't hold your breath on interoperability.
Got it. Thank you.

And now the unofficial stupid question of the day. Has anyone found a way to play the Music library on your Apple iPhone using the existing Rivian system without any mods to the existing Rivian system. Right or wrong I have a ton of music sitting in such a library that I have accumulated over the years, and would love to be able to listen to it while driving using the aforementioned Rivian system as it ships from the factory with OTA updates.
 
OP
OP

astonius

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Got it. Thank you.

And now the unofficial stupid question of the day. Has anyone found a way to play the Music library on your Apple iPhone using the existing Rivian system without any mods to the existing Rivian system. Right or wrong I have a ton of music sitting in such a library that I have accumulated over the years, and would love to be able to listen to it while driving using the aforementioned Rivian system as it ships from the factory with OTA updates.
Your only option is Bluetooth. It will play just fine, and you can play/pause and skip tracks. You can see album art and the current playlist. That’s it. You can’t change playlists through the infotainment. You have to use your phone for that.
 

Acoustic71

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Your only option is Bluetooth. It will play just fine, and you can play/pause and skip tracks. You can see album art and the current playlist. That’s it. You can’t change playlists through the infotainment. You have to use your phone for that.
Thanks. Now I recall reading that information posted somewhere, but it is always nice to have it confirmed by the owner of an R1T.

On long trips this will keep me sane while I mutter obscenities at the navigation system if it sends me to dead-end dirt road on a mountaintop instead of my actual destination. Actually happened to me during the early days of Apple navigation, so I know how it goes. Over time it should be just fine.

Either way, I would rather be an early adopter than be waiting on the sidelines. As they say in the movies, "Adventure is out there!"
 

 
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