Volkswagen Acquires Volvo’s Telematics Subsidiary

Volkswagen is buying Volvo’s telematics subsidiary, WirelessCar, aiming to expand its push into the connected fleet market.

The automaker hopes the deal will conclude within the first half of 2019 but competition regulators still have to approve it. It says it wants access to WirelessCar’s connectivity tech to help it develop its automotive cloud.

Microsoft and diconium are already involved in this work. WirelessCar will partner with Microsoft on development of the cloud’s device platform. Volkswagen claimed the integration of WirelessCar’s tech into the device platform would “enable safe and stable data exchange between [it and] the vehicle’s operating system … forming an essential basis for the future software architecture in the vehicle”.

Situating the move as part of the automaker’s efforts to become a “mobility provider”, Volkswagen head of mobility services Christoph Hartung claimed: “Our customers will be able to use digital value-added services in their cars or on their mobile devices at all times … we are now … focusing on integrating the technologies”. WirelessCar CEO Martin Rosell added that he thought the automaker was the “ideal partner for the next stage in our development” and that it had “the most ambitious future strategy for connectivity in the automotive industry”.

At its end-of-year conference call, a Volkswagen official said the first vehicle in which the device platform would be deployed would be the new ID, expected in 2019. When asked what cyber-security measures the automaker had in place to ensure its cloud would not be vulnerable to the sort of attacks by hackers that sky-rocketed in 2018, they said it had partnered with an unnamed Israeli company that was working on its “in-car architectures in order to consolidate the IT security level”. They claimed Volkswagen’s hacking response measures were “of a top level when it comes to technology”, without specifying what they were.

 


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