Connected Vehicle

VW’s software unit partners with Vivo for smart car connectivity

(Yicai) Nov. 6 — Cariad, the auto software unit of German carmaker Volkswagen Group, has joined hands with Chinese mobile handset company-Vivo, to come up with innovative cross-industry solutions for vehicle-smartphone connectivity. Cariad’s China unit and Vivo will jointly set up the Mobile x Mobility Fusion Joint Innovative Lab.

The lab will focus on researching and developing smart cockpits. This includes the synchronization and integration of human-computer interfaces between smartphones and smart cars. Cariad mentioned the integration and sharing of user data in vehicles as a crucial aspect of research focus. Additionally, the lab will work on achieving seamless connection and smooth flow of smart applications both inside and outside autos, Cariad said.

The joint initiative also plans to cooperate in technical fields involving artificial intelligence and large language models in the future, Cariad noted.

There is a new emerging trend in China, for the mobility and telecoms industries to cooperate. Huawei Technologies, Xiaomi, and other handset giants have in recent years ventured into car businesses. On the other hand, Geely Auto, Nio, and other carmakers have started making mobile phones. The two sectors can combine their respective strengths, including the powerful software capabilities of smartphone makers and tech firms.

Earlier in July 2023, Volkswagen had invested USD700 million for a 5 percent stake in Chinese electric vehicle startup Xpeng Motors. The investment aims to jointly develop new models with smart connectivity. Moreover, they plan to make two new VW-branded EV models for the Chinese mid-sized car market, debuting them in 2026. It noted that they will jointly develop a new localization platform for the next generation of smart connected vehicles.

Cariad has in recent past, also established separate joint ventures with Horizon Robotics and Thunder Software Technology. In July 2023, Volkswagen’s luxury car brand Audi and its Chinese partner SAIC Motor inked a deal to jointly develop and expand the smart connected vehicle product mix in the high-end market.

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