Weekly Brief: Race for CarPlay aftermarket is on

Weekly Brief: Race for CarPlay aftermarket is on

In this week’s Brief: Pioneer, Alpine, Apple, Mercedes, Volvo, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Alibabi, AutoNavi, Tencent, Baidu, BMW, Google, Freescale Semiconductor, INRIX, Pitney Bowes, Volkswagen, AUPEO!, MirrorLink, AT&T, Volvo Car Group and Digital Radio UK.

Let the CarPlay wars begin.

A day after Pioneer and Alpine announced rival in-dash systems compatible with CarPlay, Apple took to its website to confirm for its users that they soon will be able to add CarPlay “to the cars they already own.” Pioneer and Alpine seem to be the only two manufacturers that Apple has tapped for the job, and their solutions sound pretty similar based upon their press respective releases, which read like twin logs passed through the Apple PR paper mill.

Both promise large touchscreens, compatibility with the iPhone 5s, 5c and 5, and the ability to use Siri to control CarPlay’s standard features, from Apple Maps to iTunes Radio. Priced between $700 and $1,400 depending on the model, the Pioneer system will hit the market in early summer in the United States. Alpine plans for a simultaneous North America and Europe launch of its solution this fall. Mercedes, VolvoFerrariHonda and Hyundai have committed to embedding CarPlay in their new vehicles, with a raft of other OEMs to follow in 2015.

In other news, Chinese Internet behemoth Alibabi acquired AutoNavi in an all-cash transaction of $1.58 billion. Alibabi already owned 28% of AutoNavi, which it first pegged in May 2012 as a promising way to enter the mapping industry and compete with Tencent and Baidu. AutoNavi’s profits have been declining in the past two years, and, notably, it lost BMW as a customer this year. But the company does have the Chinese government’s mapping license, which gives it access to top-notch mapping data for which companies like Apple and Google are willing to pay handsomely.

Freescale Semiconductor introduced a new technology that aims to take heads-up displays from the exclusive domain of high-end cars to the masses. The solution reduces cost and complexity by combining the multiple external components in existing chips (main processor, graphics unit, external SRAM and dedicated circuitry) into a single triple-core chip with 1.7 times higher performance than its competition.

INRIX integrated location-based services into its traffic intelligence platform through a partnership with Pitney Bowes. The two plan to merge location capabilities with traffic analysis to create a beefed-up INRIX app that can recommend desirable locations partly based upon the user’s history and partly based upon the ease of navigating to those locations in current traffic. Headed to a department store around noon? The app can offer lunch recommendations based on user preferences, convenience, proximity and projected traffic patterns.

Volkswagen penned a deal to bring AUPEO!’s audio streaming platform to its cars. AUPEO! works much like Pandora, harnessing an algorithm to create custom radio stations for its listeners. The carmaker will use MirrorLink integration to allow drivers to stream AUPEO! directly into the dash, where they can display and manage the app.

In the United States, AT&T locked Volvo Car Group into a multi-year agreement for high-speed wireless services. When 2015 Volvo vehicles trundle off the factory floor later this year with the all-new Sensus Connected Touch infotainment systems embedded inside, those vehicles will use AT&T to power the service.

Finally, is FM radio going the way of the woolly mammoth and the Dodo bird? A new report shows that 45% of new cars in the United Kingdom come with digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio as standard today in place of its FM kin and that more than 50% of new cars will likely come fitted with DAB by the second half of this year. Digital Radio UK has set a major initiative in motion to get the number of local DAB transmitters to FM equivalence in the U.K., thus expanding network coverage from 94% of the population to 97%.

The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU analysis with information from industry press releases.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to Telematics Update.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out Insurance Telematics Europe 2014 on May 6-7 in London, Data Business for Connected Vehicles Japan 2014 on May 14-15 in Tokyo, Telematics India and South Asia 2014 on May 28-29 in Bangalore, India, Insurance Telematics Canada 2014 on May 28-29 in Toronto, Telematics Update Awards 2014 on June 3 in Novi, Michigan, Telematics Detroit 2014 on June 4-5 in Novi, Michigan, Advanced Automotive Safety USA 2014 on July 8-9 in Novi, Michigan, Insurance Telematics USA 2014 on Sept. 3-4 in Chicago, Telematics Japan 2014 in October in Tokyo and Telematics Munich 2014 on Nov. 10-11 in Munich, Germany.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Insurance Telematics Report 2014Connected Fleet Report 2014The Automotive HMI Report 2013 and Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013

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