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Technology / Hardware

Could Apple & BMW soon be driving the same smart car?

The race is on for car manufacturers and software companies to design the ultimate smart car, with a surprise visit by Apple to BMW indicating a possible partnership between the two firms.

An Apple delegation, including Cupertino’s CEO Tim Cook, visited the German carmaker’s headquarters last year to learn how BMW builds its i3 electric car, according to sources.

One of the sources told Reuters that the visit to the Leipzig factory did not result in a collaboration between Apple and BMW, as the iWatch maker is reportedly looking at creating a connected vehicle by itself.

The source added that BMW is also reluctant about sharing knowledge on how to develop the technology, as it does not want to become a supplier to a software or internet company like Apple. BMW executives have, however, shown to be open to license parts, according to the same sources.

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The lack of trust in the industry is seen as an obstacle to the successful development of a connected car. Dr. Kevin Curran, senior member of the IEEE, told CBR: "A crucial barrier to smart car success is the lack of trust and collaboration between the major auto manufacturers.

Curran added that, for example companies like Ford, General Motors, Toyota, BMW and "all the other leaders" are all part of the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium, which is striving to deploy the infrastructure of tomorrow.

He said that "however, in reality they all go back to their workshops and continue to promote their own proprietary products".

This weekend, BMW’s CEO Harald Krueger, was quoted in a German newspaper saying that there is space for more "i" electric car models to be produced.

Krueger told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: "Between the i3 and the i8, there is space if you look at it from the number point of view."

Today, a report from ReportsnReports revealed that the connected car services market will be worth $40 billion by 2020, driven by a host of applications, including infotainment, navigation, fleet management, remote diagnostics, automatic crash notification, enhanced safety, UBI (Usage Based Insurance), traffic management and autonomous driving.

The research took into consideration OEM connected car programs, enabling technologies, key trends, market drivers, challenges, key applications, collaborative initiatives, regulatory landscape, standardisation, opportunities, future roadmap, value chain, ecosystem player profiles and strategies.
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