Access Google Maps or Google Assistant directly from your Porsche? This is the agreement envisaged by the manufacturer, according to information from the Reuters press agency, marking in this a change in the company’s strategy. Porsche was once hesitant to use Google because the web giant asked for access to too much data, according to the German newspaper Store Manager.
During a conference call last October, Lutz Meschke, Porsche’s chief financial officer, said the company had contacts with Google and Apple, but also Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba in China. Porsche stopped cooperating with Volkswagen’s Cariad unit on software developments. The agreement negotiated with Google, if it were to see the light of day, would only concern the Porsche brand, and not the Volkswagen parent company.
Manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and tech suppliers join forces
If an agreement were to be reached, Porsche would not be the first to take the plunge: from Renault to Nissan, via Ford or General Motors, many manufacturers are integrating Google applications directly into their vehicles, without having to resort to on the phone. Other brands, on the other hand, categorically refuse to do so. “It is important for the company to keep control of the customer interface”said a BMW spokesperson.
Despite these resistances, the tendency to “software-defined-vehicle” remained visible at CES 2023. With different strategies, and varied fortunes: Volkswagen is banking on its own operating system, Cariad, but its models have suffered from several delays. “We had a very steep learning curveadmitted Thomas Schäfer, group director for volume brands, to L’Usine Nouvelle last January. In this field, it is always more difficult to transform an existing company than to start from a blank page. Cariad had problems in the start-up phase but I am convinced that they will succeed.”
The car of the future will be defined by its software
As for the other manufacturers, most have opted for partnerships. In addition to the examples cited above with Google, Stellantis has approached Amazon and Honda with Sony. Stellantis’ STLA SmartCockpit platform will thus integrate Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, but also entertainment applications and payment services. Manufacturer’s cars will also be able to communicate with Amazon’s connected objects. At Honda, Sony’s equipment should allow level 3 autonomous driving and even create an entertainment space inside the cabin thanks to a partnership with video game specialist Epic Games.
“There is a consensus on this question: the car of the future will be defined by the software that drives it.assured L’Usine Nouvelle during the CES Thomas Weber, expert in the automotive sector at BCG. Despite this, no actor is able to do everything himself. The question that remains open is: how will the ecosystem evolve between manufacturers, traditional equipment manufacturers and tech-based suppliers?”
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