Connecting cars and homes in new and innovative ways is the goal of a new collaborative project being undertaken by smartphone and electronics vendor LG and automaker Volkswagen. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to begin joint research and development of what they call a next-generation connected car service platform that will bring new capabilities to their customers.
The work will center on continuing development of Volkswagen's Cross-Over-Platform, which builds on enhancing vehicle connectivity and user convenience, according to a July 6 announcement by the companies. "Using the latest in cloud technology, it will offer drivers seamless digital access to extensive features such as smart home and location-based services," the companies said in a statement.
"LG Electronics and Volkswagen are teaming up to develop the next generation of connected car platform that allows wide integration with smart home services and adoption of open [Internet of things] connectivity technologies," Richard Choi, the head of LG's Cloud Center, said in a statement. "We think LG's expertise in smart technology together with Volkswagen's leadership in the automotive sector will revolutionize the way drivers interact with their vehicles."
The joint research and development between LG and VW will focus on technologies that bring connected cars and smart homes closer together to allow drivers to control and monitor smart devices in their homes—including lights, security systems and home appliances—right from their vehicles wherever they are, the companies said.
Also slated is development work on future in-vehicle infotainment systems and on a context-sensitive in-vehicle notification center that can deliver messages to drivers simply and safely, while providing optimized recommendations in real time.
"Volkswagen is pressing on with the digitalization of its brands," Prof. Thomas Form, the head of electronics and vehicle research at Volkswagen, said in a statement. "Our focus in doing so is always on our customers. For them, comfort, safety and energy efficiency play a central role. LG is a strong, reliable partner in the implementation of new features and one of the drivers of innovation in the networked household."
LG and VW have worked together on projects in the past. In March 2015, Volkswagen subsidiary Italdesign Giugiaro unveiled its GEA concept car at the Geneva Motor Show with seven key components supplied by LG Electronics, including the holographic display, connected smartwatch, tail lights and rear camera, according to the companies. LG has been selected as Volkswagen's strategic electronics supplier and is also listed as a partner company on its FAST (Future Automotive Supply Tracks) program. And at January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, LG and VW combined to display a smart home system that could be controlled remotely from a vehicle.
In January 2015, Volkswagen introduced a myriad of new features for its vehicles being sold in the United States, including a second-generation "modular infotainment platform" called MIB II, as well as unveiled Android Auto and CarPlay by Apple, according to an earlier eWEEK story. Android Auto, developed by Google, uses USB as an interface. And Android Auto lets drivers and passengers use various apps, such as Google Maps, Google Play, WhatsApp and Spotify, inside vehicles using touch-screen operation or through Google Voice control using the vehicle's multifunction steering wheel, according to Volkswagen.