Baidu has taken the wraps off an in-vehicle infotainment platform CarLife, joining China’s escalating battle for car tech supremacy.
The Chinese search engine giant has teamed up with three top automakers Audi, Hyundai and Shanghai General Motors in manufacturing cars equipped with internet access and in-vehicle infotainment services. Hyundai plans to showcase its Sonata sedan compatible with Baidu software in April, according to Yonhap News Agency.
CarLife is a cross-platform connected car service compatible with mainstream on-board systems running on Linux, QNX or Android. For mobiles, the system supports both iOS and Android, covering 95% of smartphones (as claimed by the company). Users can connect their cars and smartphones via Wifi or USB cable.
Based on Baidu Maps, CarLife will offer navigation and other related services, helping drivers find optimal driving routes, avoid traffic jams, update map data, locate parking lots, and more. It also supports hands-free calling and music steaming by NetEase Music.
This is not the first time that Baidu has dipped a toe in the smart vehicle industry. Last April it rolled out CarNet, a WinCE-based system linking customers’ smartphones with their in-car systems, alongside car service company Tima Networks. However, the two companies have terminated their cooperation on the project. Tima Networks debuted CarNet 1.0 earlier this month independently (as Mydrivers noted).
The global auto industry is increasingly betting on cars that can be connected to the internet via smartphone or even without them. To tap the market, Apple rolled out CarPlay and Google has developed Android Auto to expand their dominance beyond the smartphone screen. Chinese video company LeTV also launched a custom OS for the company’s electric car project unveiled last month.
image credit: Baidu
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)