Inrix, a company founded in 2004 by former Microsoft employees, has purchased OpenCar. OpenCar is a recent start-up that has developed new software to compete with Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. The deal will bring all 15 OpenCar employees, including CEO, Jeff Payne, over to Inrix.
Inrix already has a substantial “in” with automakers, being the foremost company for real-time traffic and weather data.
Bryan Mistele, Inrix CEO, plans to begin selling the software within 60 days. He said:
“Apple and Google have adopted a one-size fits all approach, where the user experience in a Ford is the same as a BMW . . . that’s not OK.”
“Nobody wants to sell a $50,000 car that’s dependent on a $500 phone. They want an experience that will wow a customer whether they have a iPhone or Android phone or whatever else.”
Unlike the Apple and Google apps, OpenCar will be able to be directly downloaded to the vehicle, with no need to connect a smartphone.
Mistele explained that several automakers came together to Inrix, requesting the production of a competitive app due to the company’s track record as an “independent, stable company that works well with all the car companies.”
The initial plan for Inrix is to sell the software to Audi, Tesla, Volvo, Ford, Toyota, and Volkswagen. These companies are already exisiting partners with Inrix.
Marcus Keith, head of Audi’s Connect service, is very confident about the prospect. He confirmed:
“We’re excited to see additional competition.”
Thus far, independent software companies have had little success in the auto app market. Some companies have supported CarPlay and Android Auto, but others have not, especially due to Apple’s and Google’s rumored push into the auto market.
It seems that the threat of the Apple Car and Apple’s dominance in the software and app market is pushing automakers to take more and more steps to assure competitiveness in the years to come.
Source (Automotive News)