Audi turns down Google’s invitation due to worries about privacy

Article by Andrew Christian, on June 12, 2015

Audi cited how internet-assisted driving may put passenger privacy at risk as a reason for saying no to Google’s invitation to be a partner. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler told executives via a speech last Tuesday that a car is private as it’s seen today as a “second living room.” He believes that the customer is the only person who needs access to the data onboard.

It’s apparent from Stadler’s comments that Audi, as well as the other German automakers, have been harbouring concerns on data protection as they work to create platforms that compete with Google when it comes to Internet-assisted motoring. He explained that what customers don’t want to be “exploited” as a car owner.

Rather, they want to control their data and not be monitored. At the same event, Eric Schmidt (the chairman of Google) said that it has been a year since the company has entered an “Automobile Alliance" with Audi, Opel and Volkswagen. Schmidt pointed out that Google is undertaking this with partners and that specifically, it is working with a “whole infrastructure” in Germany.

He added that Google is looking for "essential" German expertise for the fulfilment of its automobile projects in Europe. Automakers like Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors and PSA/ Peugeot-Citroen have been making huge investments towards an industry change wherein software has a crucial role and new rivals and alliances appear.

Stadler emphasized Audi’s opinion that by the end of the decade, electronics and digital features will hold the same importance as horsepower to the brand’s product value. Last month, sources said that Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have bid as a group for Nokia's HERE digital-map division together with a private equity group.

Carmakers want a deeper integration of electronic functions in vehicles such as in-car connectivity for example. Nokia has maps that may serve as the basis for technology such as automated driving.

Last year, a task force was set up by Audi’s parent, the Volkswagen Group, to hasten the adaptation of technology for new models. On May 22, VW said that its Car-Net system will package applications for on-board use of drivers' smartphones or tablets that run on Google's Android Auto software or Apple's CarPlay and feature voice recognition.

Topics: audi, google

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