EMEA: Connected car hook-up rumors in the news
Maybe calling the connected car “hook-ups” is a bit of a misnomer; although you have to admit it does feel like there’s somewhat of a dating game going on with Google, Apple and certain OEMs around the industry.
There’s been quite a bit of speculation about Apple and BMW working together on the rumored Apple electric vehicle, which over the last week has gained some traction with news stories in Europe about an Apple visit to BMW in Germany. Germany’s Manager Magazin reported (in German only) that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and a team of senior managers had visited BMW’s i3 production facility in Leipzig. Although this visit took place in late 2014, it seems to just now be making it into the public domain.
As a follow-up to the visit, Reuters is adding further fuel to the flames of the rumors. Of course we don’t know the real reason for the visit – partnership talks or sharing industry lessons learned. We do know that Apple has recently hired a key leader in Doug Betts, who most recently served as an SVP of global quality for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. This market know-how along with Apple’s deep pockets could certainly position Apple to manufacture its own vehicle. But that is a huge step up from smartphones, PCs and tablets. So can they actually execute on their own?
And then there’s BMW’s June announcement of a partnership with Baidu to bring its self-driving car to the roads of China, as reported by The Guardian. The two companies started joint research on self-driving cars about a year prior to the announcement, and the goal is to launch the vehicle by year-end.
And we can’t forget Google if we’re talking about Apple. Although no partnerships have been named with automotive OEMs on this front, it seems Google may go it alone. The Guardian also reported the registration of Google Auto LLC. Originally registered in 2011, Google used it to modify and test the self-driving Lexus SUVs that are now in use following the original self-driving Prius. Google Auto is named as the manufacturer of all 23 autonomous Lexus cars registered with California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, interesting.
Well rumors are just that. But the old saying that there’s always some bit of truth in every rumor will prove interesting when we see what that bit is. I have no doubt.
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Claudia Bacco, Managing Director – EMEA for RCR Wireless News, has spent her entire career in telecom, IT and security. Having experience as an operator, software and hardware vendor and as a well-known industry analyst, she has many opinions on the market. She’ll be sharing those opinions along with ongoing trend analysis for RCR Wireless News.