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Car drivers fuel big demand for in-vehicle web access

KPMG report shows IT vendors working more closely with manufacturers

Online connectivity in cars is set to take off as manufacturers make deeper alliances with IT companies, according to a report.

A KPMG survey of 200 automotive executives, with half of them from Europe, says 60 percent see joint ventures or strategic alliances with technology companies as the way to deliver internet services to cars.

Over a third (34 percent) of car executives expect that consumers' purchasing decisions over the next five years will be driven by whether the car they purchase has internet connectivity and built-in technologies such as navigation with live traffic update, voice recognition, and access to smartphones through steering wheel controls and the dashboard.

The importance of such features are almost on par with car safety (37 percent) and environmental friendliness (40 percent).

John Leech, head of automotive at KPMG, said: "In the future, connectivity will not simply be a 'nice to have' feature but an intrinsic part of a vehicle. Right now the market is open for the taking, and global manufacturers and suppliers are beginning to realise the potential of this market."

Toyota and Intel recently joined forces to develop the next generation of built-in infotainment systems. Also, the 2012 Audi A7 has built-in 3G wireless and Audi intends to extend it to other new models as they become available.

KPMG says the majority of current infotainment systems are provided by OEMs through built-in devices and proprietary software, but that the auto industry must open itself up to technologies and services offered by the technology industry."

Last year Toyota joined the non-profit Linux Foundation, which is dedicated to accelerating the growth of the open-source operating system. The car maker said it was joining the Linux Foundation as a Gold member to maximise its own investment in Linux "while fostering open innovation throughout the automotive ecosystem".


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