Volkswagen and German chip maker Infineon have jointly developed technology that allows drivers to make calls without a wired hands-free device, the two firms said.
The telematics unit will be made available to all carmakers and suppliers and will be piloted by Volkswagen from this autumn, the companies said in a joint statement cited by Reuters.
The move reportedly addresses both the need of carmakers to pile more add-ons into vehicles to tempt reluctant buyers and Infineon’s desire to focus its business on high-margin automotive and communications chips and less on memory chips.
The platform will cost no more than current in-car telephone units “and so permits advanced information services that were previously the preserve primarily of the luxury-car category to be used in all classes of vehicles,” the companies said, according to the news agency.
Data from any mobile phone will be transmitted to the platform by Bluetooth technology and all calls diverted to it, with SMS text messages, telephone numbers or names of callers appearing on the car’s instrument panel. The driver will be able to dial numbers by voice or by controls on the steering wheel.
Other potential applications reportedly include the relaying of in-car fault diagnosis to the nearest repair shop as well as automatic calls to breakdown and recovery services.
The unit combines Infineon chip design with VW software, Reuters said.
“We have pooled our comprehensive expertise in the automotive and communications sector and will deliver hardware that meets the exacting requirements of the automobile industry,” Infineon’s automotive and industrial chief Reinhard Ploss said in the statement.
The running of Infineon was taken over at the beginning of this month by auto industry veteran Wolfgang Ziebart, after years of leadership by memory chip enthusiast and amateur racer Ulrich Schumacher, Reuters noted.