Audi is intensifying the expansion of connectivity of its cars in China, according to an announcement by the premium carmaker in advance of the first CES Asia taking place in Shanghai. With Baidu CarLife, Audi will also be offering uncompromising integration of smartphones in its cars in China. A China-specific LTE module, which Audi is developing in a joint venture with Huawei, will deliver fast data transmission.
“The aim of our partnership with Baidu – a company that is number one on the Chinese search engine market – is to drive advances in the online networking of our cars in China,” says Ricky Hudi, Head of Development Electrics/Electronics at AUDI AG. Baidu CarLife is a smartphone integration for use in the automobile, similar to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
As soon as customers connect their smartphone to the car, the Audi smartphone interface starts up. On the MMI display, an environment opens with customized Baidu apps that are very popular in China, especially among young people. CarLife will operate with both iOS and Android, which will allow Audi reach the vast majority of customers.
Audi and Baidu already agreed to form a partnership at the end of January. Along with integration of Baidu CarLife, other components of the partnership include joint development of map data, positioning algorithms and point-of-interest functions. For example, they enable the transfer of destination data into the car from a Baidu Map on a computer or smartphone. In addition to Baidu CarLife, another cooperative effort being shown by Audi at CES Asia is the Audi tablet, which already includes the integrated Baidu web browser and Baidu app store.
To assure its Chinese customers of unlimited use of their online services in the automobile, quick and seamless data transmission must be guaranteed. Audi is adapting to market-specific requirements in Asia. Audi has signed an agreement with Huawei Technologies Co., one of the world’s largest network providers, for the development and utilization of an Asia-specific LTE module. Audi will use the module in China, Japan and Korea. It supports the TDD-LTE (Time Division Duplexing) wireless standard by China Mobile, which was redefined in 2013, and the FDD-LTE (Frequency Division Duplexing) standard. This makes Audi the first premium automaker to offer a fully integrated LTE solution in China.