Fiat Auto and Microsoft Corp.'s Automotive Business Unit have announced a long-term strategic automotive partnership to develop innovative telematics solutions for motorists.
The goal of the partnership is to design telematics systems that will enable drivers to communicate effectively with the outside world. The telematics systems will be flexible, easy to access and easy to use. They will allow users' own devices such as cellular phones, Pocket PCs or Windows Mobile-based devices to integrate with the vehicle. Motorists will be able to use standard information services, including Web services, and a hands-free phone, while Bluetooth connectivity ensures that drivers' personal address books and contacts will be easily accessible in the car. In addition, digital music stored in personal electronic devices will be available through a USB connection in the dash. All systems will feature high-quality voice activation. Drivers will have access to a wealth of services, including off- board navigation and real-time traffic information, such as those offered by Fiat's bCONNECT.
The joint Fiat Auto and Microsoft system will be based on standard hardware and will operate with Microsoft Windows Automotive software, which will enable Fiat Auto to implement a software design that can be customized and upgraded according to customers' preferences. Both companies plan to develop a system that interoperates with the vehicles' Controller Area Network (CAN) for diagnostic data.
Magneti Marelli, Fiat Group's automotive components arm, will contribute to the venture by building the hardware on which the systems are integrated. The device from Magneti Marelli will be based on a reference design developed by Microsoft and Fiat Auto.