Microsoft, Siemens VDO Team on Car Systems

Microsoft’s in-car technology is getting a boost via a deal with Germany’s Siemens VDO Automotive. The two firms will collaborate on a next-generation of on-board communication, navigation and entertainment systems that use Microsoft Auto, a software system and hardware reference design.

Among the features planned by the two companies are in-vehicle video entertainment and internet connectivity, according to Siemens VDO spokeswoman Eva Appold. Systems based on Microsoft Auto let drivers connect various portable devices such as mobile phones, MP3 players and video games into their automotive system via a USB 2.0 port, and interact with devices via voice technology. The new multimedia system is scheduled for availability in early 2009.

 "The multimedia platform will be very versatile, but it’s up to our car manufacturing customers to decide which features they want to offer," Appold said.

As part of the agreement with Microsoft, Siemens VDO will contribute to the further development of Microsoft Auto, the companies said.

Microsoft already has agreements with Ford and Fiat  to supply software for  in-vehicle communication and entertainment systems. Siemens VDO counts Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler and Ford Motor Co. among its customers.

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