December 30, 2013
Google And Apple Make Deeper Inroads With The Auto Industry
German auto maker Audi AG plans to announce a partnership with tech giant Google at next week’s International CES – formerly the Consumer Electronics Show. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the two companies will announce that they are developing in-car entertainment and information systems based on Google’s software.
Google has already partnered with German auto maker Continental AG to develop an automated car. At next week's CES the company will likely disclose collaborative efforts with other automotive and technology companies, which could include chip maker NVidia Corp., the WSJ reported. The move appears to be aimed at establishing Android as a key technology for future vehicles, making it the basis of how drivers and passengers access music, navigation tools, apps and other services that are now widely available on Android-based smartphones and tablet devices.
Google is also not the only tech company trying to get into the driver’s seat. In March Apple and German auto maker BMW announced a partnership at the New York International Auto Show to create smart dashboards featuring iOS, the same operating system used in iPads and iPhones.
In addition to its collaboration with BMW AG, Apple also has the support of Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz division, General Motors Co., and Honda Motor Co. In June Apple unveiled iOS in the Car at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. This system reportedly ties in with its Siri application, which can allow users to carry out voice control commands – a feature that has been touted as especially useful for drivers.
Google is taking a different approach and is instead planning to embed electronics into the car that will run natively on Android. It has already supplied its Maps technology to a number of auto makers including Audi, Toyota and even Telsa Motors.
There is a potentially big market for Apple and Google in the automotive industry, and Forbes reported that IHS Automotive has already forecast revenues for connected cars to exceed $50 billion from in-vehicle mobile ads, $500 billion from maintenance and $5 billion from service subscriptions over the next 10 years. With more than 80 million new cars and light trucks sold each year, this is a significant market for both Apple and Google for Internet-based software and services, WSJ noted.
Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowskier, told the Journal: “The car is becoming the ultimate mobile device. Apple and Google see that and are trying to line up allies to bring their technology into the vehicle.”
In addition to its partnership with Google, the paper reported that Audi is expected to demonstrate new autonomous driving technologies. At the 2013 International CES, Audi showed off a car that was able to navigate through a parking garage and even pull into a parking space without a driver at the wheel.
Not to be outdone, Ford Motor Co. is expected to demonstrate its own self-driving automobile at next week’s CES, while BMW has also reportedly invited members of the press to see a demonstration of similar technology.