Development of the hardware and software for automotive infotainment has up to now progressed at the same pace. This approach has now become too cumbersome in view of the excessive divide between short-lived, highly innovative infotainment software and hardware components that are meant to remain in use over the entire product cycle of the vehicle. The two spheres are increasingly moving apart. Whereas car manufacturers’ systems suppliers previously used to supply all components from a single source, they are now increasingly turning to highly specialized software houses for software expertise.
Audi has already responded to this development in establishing e.solutions GmbH in mid-2009. This is a joint venture between Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, a fully owned subsidiary of AUDI AG, and Elektrobit Automotive GmbH, a division of the Finnish IT company Elektrobit.
The brand with the four rings brings its profound knowledge of automotive infotainment into the joint venture, and Elektrobit its expertise as a software house with operations worldwide in the domain of infotainment and systems integration. e.solutions GmbH combines the dynamism of a start-up with the broad-based expertise and strong economic basis of AUDI AG.
At the new company’s facilities, located partly just outside the Ingolstadt plant and partly in Erlangen, over 100 Audi and Elektrobit software developers with project expertise create new, modular-structure infotainment solutions. e.solutions GmbH buys in functional software on the world market for such aspects as navigation and telephony, and integrates it into the e.solutions software suite. This has a seamless user interface that can be exchanged according to a modular principle, in line with the requirements of the VW Group brands. This software solution runs on the latest Tegra chip from Nvidia.
The start-up company’s activities are focused initially on software applications in AUDI AG vehicles. They will ultimately benefit the entire Volkswagen Group. The software suite, which is also designed to run on other hardware platforms, could develop into an attractive proposition for the entire automotive industry.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.