Microsoft Hopes to Evolve its In-Car Technology

Microsoft Hopes to Evolve its In-Car Technology

Microsoft wants to further increase its involvement in the automotive industry, vastly increasing its role with automakers.

The Seattle software giant already offers a platform used in Ford, Kia and Fiat vehicles, but that isn’t enough. Now, Microsoft hopes to offer a unifying experience that will bring automotive features and technologies onto one platform, said Pranish Kumar, group program manager for Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Automotive Business told Automotive News.

Microsoft isn’t the only software company trying to jockey in on the growing in-vehicle technology market either. BlackBerry subsidiary QNX, Apple, Google and the GENIVI Alliance — and untested nonprofit consortium — are all gunning for a seat at the table.

While each developer will have a difference approach, the goal will remain mostly the same: moving the automotive industry to a single, unified operating system. Doing that would enable software companies to offer sweeping updates much the same as cell phones today.

That ability would usher an unprecedented level of technological innovation into the automotive industry, but it might not be a good thing.

As software systems and computer technology become increasingly integral to new cars, their functionality will be likely to develop the same reliance.

“We’re looking at something of a revolution,” Kumar said. “You can monetize the upgrades, and they will go on through the life of the vehicle.”

That could herald a change that will shift a portion of post-sale service away from dealer networks, but it could also tack on extra costs for consumers. Think for a moment about how often your computer asks you to download and pay for an update. Now imagine finding similar notifications before your morning commute.

[Source: Automotive News]