Google, Audi collaborating on in-car services: report

Google and Audi are collaborating on the development of in-car entertainment and information systems based on the web giant’s Android operating system, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

The companies are set to announce their partnership at the forthcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, reports the newspaper, when they will also reveal details of collaboration with other automotive and tech companies, including Nvidia (Santa Clara, CA, USA).

Facing competition from rivals Intel (Santa Clara, CA, USA) and Qualcomm (San Diego, CA, USA), the chip maker reckons some 4.5 million cars on the road are already kitted out with its processors and predicts that another 25 million cars will use its technology within five years.

Google’s (Mountain View, CA, USA) apparent aim is to establish Android as the preferred operating system for in-car services – allowing vehicle users to enjoy similar applications to those available on smartphones and tablets, besides services developed specifically for the connected car.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal says Google is responding to a similar initiative by Apple (Cupertino, CA, USA), which has recruited BMW (Munich, Germany), Daimler (Stuttgart, Germany), General Motors (Detroit, MI, USA) and Honda (Tokyo, Japan) as technology partners.

Apple wants to ensure that iPhones and other iOS devices can connect to vehicles’ dashboard control panels.

At the CES, Audi (Ingolstadt, Germany) is also expected to demonstrate technologies allowing cars to drive themselves in particular situations, with Ford also set to showcase so-called ‘autonomous vehicles’.

Carmakers including General Motors and Audi have also unveiled plans to equip their vehicles with 4G technology allowing passengers to use high-speed internet services while on the move.

The use of voice-based technology such as Apple’s Siri would also allow drivers to use interactive services and benefit from this development.