A prototype hybrid car adaptor which can track the same radio channel across multiple platforms has been unveiled in the UK.

The Radioplayer 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 was developed in conjunction with Connects2, an automotive audio firm in England's West Midlands. The small device, fitted behind the dashboard, is controlled by a dedicated app on the driver’s smartphone which, ideally positioned 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 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 to incoming text messages, and receive audio travel news, customised by GPS to location and direction of travel.

Radioplayer, a platform run by the BBC and UK commercial radio stations said 20% of radio radio listening is in-car, and some 27 million UK vehicles still not able to receive DAB digital radio, so the technology "could present a solution to one of the biggest hurdles faced by the radio industry, in the move towards digital".