Audi will enhance its partnership with internet search and maps provider Baidu to boost its connected car offering in China, the company said in a statement today.
The plan is for Audi to officially sign a contract with Baidu based on integrating the latter’s CarLife platform into its cars.
Baidu CarLife is specifically designed for smartphone integration in cars, similar to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The capability will allow customers to access the Audi smartphone interface in their vehicles, as soon as they connect their iOS or Android smartphones, and use a number of customised Baidu apps that are popular in China.
The companies initially signed a MoU in January to develop navigation map data, positioning algorithms and point of interest functions.
To ensure its customers have better access to online services in their cars, Audi is also developing a China-specific LTE module in partnership with Huawei to enable fast data transmission.
In a statement, the company said it is adapting to market-specific requirements in Asia, and will use the module in China, Japan and Korea.
Ricky Hudi, head of development electronics at Audi, said the partnership with Baidu will “drive advances in the online networking of our cars in China”.
Today’s announcement comes after Audi, BMW and Mercedes partnered with private equity group General Atlantic to beef up its attempts to acquire Nokia’s mapping business HERE.
It is rumoured that rivalling bidder Uber will partner with Baidu to secure the deal, which could pit Audi and Baidu in direct competition.