According to Hyundai’s statement, Volkswagen, General Motors and Audi have also agreed to sell cars with Baidu’s infotainment platform in China
Chinese search engine giant Baidu has signed an agreement with Hyundai Motor1 to sell connected cars in China. Thanks to the rising popularity of smartphones, global automobile industry is betting on cars that are equipped with Internet access and infotainment services. Such vehicles can be connected to the Internet via users’ smartphones or even without them.
Baidu introduces CarLife
Hyundai announced the deal after Baidu unveiled its in-vehicle infotainment platform CarLife on Tuesday in Beijing. Hyundai officials said that South Korea’s top automaker will introduce its Sonata sedan compatible with Baidu’s CarLife in April this year, reports Yonhap News Agency. Features of CarLife are not immediately known, but Baidu is trying to catch up with Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto.
Hyundai said that the Chinese government has not yet officially announced whether to support Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay. So, the company teamed up with Baidu to explore the Chinese market for connected cars. Hyundai is not the only company, though. Volkswagen, General Motors and Audi have also agreed to sell cars with Baidu’s infotainment platform in China.
Can Baidu’s CarLife rival CarPlay and Android Auto?
China accounts for about 23% of Hyundai’s total sales. Last year, the Korean company along with its affiliate Kia Motors sold 1,843,354 vehicles in the world’s largest automobile market. Baidu’s success in Chinese connected car market will depend largely on whether the government approves CarPlay and Android Auto in China.
It would be interesting to see how Baidu expands its in-car infotainment system outside China. Automakers like Ford, General Motors, Honda, BMW, Chrysler, Fiat, Mazda and others have announced to add Apple’s CarPlay inside select cars. Meanwhile, German automakers have been wary of Google’s Android Auto. They fear that Android could control cars like it does smartphones and tablets. They are also concerned about how Google would use data it will collect on location of cars and behavior of their passengers.