Microsoft and Siemens VDO to Cooperate on the Development of Automotive Infotainment Solutions
Siemens VDO and Microsoft will join forces to develop in-vehicle communication, information, entertainment and navigation products.
REGENSBURG, Germany, and REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 7, 2007 — Siemens VDO Automotive AG and Microsoft Corp. will join forces to develop in-vehicle communication, information, entertainment and navigation products. This new generation of automotive products will be designed to meet the industry’s growing demand for innovative, flexible and affordable solutions. Working together, Siemens VDO and Microsoft will be able to deliver these advanced solutions to market much faster than the typical automotive industry’s product development cycle. According to current planning, the first Siemens VDO product based on Microsoft® software technology is expected to go into production as early as 2009.
Siemens VDO will bring to market a new generation of automotive infotainment systems that include navigation, high-end multimedia units and interfaces to connect portable electronic entertainment devices using the Microsoft software technology platform. Microsoft’s expertise in software for multimedia, entertainment and communications solutions in combination with Siemens VDO’s long years of experience in the development of in-vehicle multimedia and infotainment systems forms the ideal basis for this collaboration. Siemens VDO’s system know-how in the design of infotainment systems and their integration and networking in the vehicle will play an important role. The goal of this joint effort is to make it possible to optimally serve the requirements and standards of the automotive industry at any time.
The collaboration will provide both companies with definite strategic advantages. By using the Microsoft Auto platform, a robust and general-purpose in-car software technology, Siemens VDO will be able to fully concentrate on its key competences of system design, vehicle integration, driver assistance systems and safety systems. In addition, Siemens VDO will also be able to actively help shape Microsoft Auto and license platform-compliant applications, such as navigation functions, for third-party suppliers.
Microsoft will concentrate on the further development of Microsoft Auto with a special focus on multimedia applications and the integration of portable consumer devices. Extensive experience in the field of consumer electronics helps ensure that the solutions resulting from this collaborative effort will be compatible with current and future mobile devices and Internet services.
The first milestone in the collaboration is a multimedia platform that Siemens VDO is developing based on Microsoft Auto. This platform will make it possible to integrate functions and portable devices from the field of consumer electronics more closely into the vehicle as soon as 2009. Consequently, new solutions in consumer electronics will be adapted for in-vehicle use more quickly and easily, since it will only be necessary to add individual software components. This helps close the gap between the short development cycles in communications and information technology and the comparatively long product life cycles in automotive engineering.
“We are pleased that Siemens VDO has chosen Microsoft as their software partner,” said Martin Thall, general manager of the Automotive Business Unit at Microsoft. “The extremely flexible and modular nature of the Microsoft Auto platform makes it perfectly suited to provide a range of innovative infotainment solutions that transform the driving experience by connecting drivers seamlessly to the people, information and entertainment they care about while they are on the road.”
“Thanks to this cooperative project with Microsoft, we will be able to incorporate the rapidly changing trends in consumer electronics into the world of automotive electronics in an ideal way,” said Helmut Matschi, member of the board of Siemens VDO. “Working together, we will make both current and future multimedia and infotainment solutions, some of which are still under development, available to current vehicle generations.”
About Siemens VDO Automotive AG
Siemens VDO Automotive AG (Regensburg) is one of the world’s leading automotive electronics and mechatronics suppliers, earning approximately 70 percent of its total annual sales in this segment. As an automotive industry development partner, the company’s innovative products and solutions enhance safety, driving comfort, cost-effectiveness and performance, as well as reduce emissions and keep drivers informed and in touch with the world. In the 2006 business year (Sept. 30, 2006), Siemens VDO generated sales of more than EUR 10 billion and achieved results of EUR 669 million based on US-GAAP, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 6.7 percent.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Microsoft Software in Every Car?
REDMOND, Wash. — First Microsoft set out to put a computer in every home. Now the software giant hopes to put one in every vehicle, too.
"We’d like to have one of our operating systems in every car on Earth," said Dick Brass, vice-president of Microsoft’s automotive business unit. "It’s a lofty goal."
Cars with the Microsoft software will speak up when it’s time for an oil change. They’ll warn drivers about wrecks on the road ahead and scout alternative routes. They’ll pay freeway tolls automatically. The software running their brakes will upgrade itself wirelessly.
The Microsoft platform already is in 23 different car models, including the BMW 7 series, Citroen, Daimler, Fiat, Volvo, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Toyota.
Brass made his remarks last week at a technology, tolls and transportation conference held at Microsoft and sponsored by the Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Project.
Globally, there are 650 million cars, and 50 million new vehicles are produced every year, Brass said — comparable to the market for desktop computers.
Microprocessors already control major vehicle functions. And for years, Microsoft has been making inroads in automotive telematics, a combination of computers and telecommunications.
Brass said drivers spend millions of hours commuting and are distracted by myriad gadgets, including hand-held viewers that offer traffic reports from the state Department of Transportation.
Microsoft’s TBox, which he said will be available in 12 to 36 months, can connect them all and make them hands-free.
"The idea is to make it easy to bring phones and laptops into the car … and connect to networks around it," Brass said.
The device has a processor, memory and a hard drive with no moving parts, said Peter Wengert, marketing manager for Microsoft’s automotive unit.
At the conference, Brass showed on-the-street interviews asking what gadgets future cars should carry.
"I don’t want Ford making PDAs, and I don’t want Microsoft making cars," one man said.
But bringing the two together seems inevitable. Brass said drivers could use the system to create 21st century vanpools and help reduce congestion.
"It’s possible to imagine setting a system in place with 5,000 to 10,000 vans and have a dramatic reduction in traffic," he said. "With GPS and TBox, we have the tools we would need to put this all together."
Doug Klunder, director of the Privacy Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, asked Brass how Microsoft plans to protect individual information.
"We really, really, really understand the need for security and privacy," Brass said, suggesting that encrypting and not storing the information are two ways to address some concerns.