MUNICH, Germany With its AutoLinQ internet platform, automotive electronics tier one Continental AG plans to tap the dynamics of internet applications for car users. Continental's platform is based on Google's Android operating system.
AutoLinQ, introduced at the recent Telematics Detroit show, represents a hardware and software system enabling drivers to use web-based applications. The hardware will, among other functions, embrace all parts necessary to control the respective applications, display their output and enable them to communicate through an integrated 3G wireless unit. With the platform, the company plans to pursuit an 'always-online' approach, offering a possibility to implement location-based services. Also, applications that require technical car status reports will be made possible, using an open platform.
Against the background of the automotive environment, most applications will be controlled by voice control, and in most cases there will be acoustic means to output the results, a company spokesperson explained. However, it is also possible that applications will use existing in-car displays, for instance when they display navigation-related data.
The company has chosen Android since it is an open-source environment and many applications developers are already familiar with it. The company hopes that third-party developers will provide many applications but "we do not want constantly new independent applications we prefer applications that interact with each other," the spokesperson explained. Under the bottom line, Continental appears at aiming to transfer Apple's iPhone success in the automotive environment.
The tier one already offers an infotainment platform based on Windows Automotive, an operating and middleware bundle tailored for the automotive environment. The company's Android commitment won't replace the Windows platform but complete it. "Our Microsoft platform certainly has some advantages in terms of performance and the credibility of its ecosystem," the spokesperson said. "But we believe that with the Android environment we will meet a more agile market."
The success will greatly depend on the acceptance of the system at application programmers."We do not plan a private function", the spokesperson said. "We will bring all the variety of the internet to automotive users." In any case however, the company will set conditions, specifications and rules as to safety, usability and security.
With the system, the tier one intends to meet demand from international OEMs. Since the latter will decide if and how they will incorporate AutoLinQ into their cars, it is not possible to specify a timeline for its availability. "It will greatly depend on the availability of applications," the spokesperson said.
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