Google and Apple will be battling for digital supremacy in the automobile, reports the Wall Street Journal. Next week at the Consumer Electronics Show, Google and Audi plan to announce a partnership to develop in-car entertainment and information systems based on Google’s Android software, says the Journal.
The aim is to allow drivers and passengers to access music, navigation, apps and services that are similar to those widely available now on Android-powered smartphones.
The collaborative efforts includes other automotive and tech companies, including chip maker Nvidia. Google has provided its map technology to a range of auto makers since 2006, including Audi, Toyota and Tesla Motors.
Last June Apple announced plans to integrate its iOS operating system into car makers’ dashboards. Apple so far has the support of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Honda. Apple has said that it expects a dozen car brands to adopt the technology in 2014.
Apple says that 95 percent of vehicles sold today are already able to work directly with iOS devices for music and playback control, but iOS in the Car will expand that functionality to also include phone calls, maps/directions, and sending and receiving iMessages using your vehicle’s screen or eyes- and hands-free using Siri.
A year ago, Audi used the trade show to demonstrate a car that could navigate through a parking garage and pull into a parking space without a driver. BMW, also based in Germany, plans to a demonstrate related technology at CES.
Ford is also expected to demonstrate an autonomous vehicle at CES next week.
With 80 million new cars and light trucks sold each year, automobiles represent a significant new opportunity for Internet-based software and services.
Five years ago infotainment ranked 27th on a list of features most cars shopper wanted. Now it’s in the top five.
According to research firm Analysys Mason, 11.5 million connected cars will ship this year, growing to around 170 million in 2023. General Motors’ OnStar service currently has 6 million customers. Worldwide sales of HUD-equipped cars will increase from 1.2 million units in 2012 to 9.1 million in 2020.
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