Siemens VDO Automotive AG and Microsoft Corp. will work together to develop in-vehicle communication, information, entertainment and navigation products.

The companies say that working together means they will be able to deliver solutions to market faster.

According to current planning, the first Siemens VDO product based on Microsoft software technology is expected to go into production in 2009.

Siemens VDO will bring to market a new generation of automotive infotainment systems that include navigation, high-end multimedia units and interfaces to connect portable electronic entertainment devices using the Microsoft software technology platform.

By using the Microsoft Auto platform, a general-purpose in-car software technology, Siemens VDO says it will be able to fully concentrate on its key competences of system design, vehicle integration, driver assistance systems and safety systems. In addition, Siemens VDO will also be able to actively help shape Microsoft Auto and license platform-compliant applications, such as navigation functions, for third-party suppliers.

Microsoft will concentrate on the further development of Microsoft Auto with a special focus on multimedia applications and the integration of portable consumer devices.

Extensive experience in the field of consumer electronics helps ensure that the solutions resulting from this collaborative effort will be compatible with current and future mobile devices and Internet services.

The first milestone in the collaboration is a multimedia platform that Siemens VDO is developing based on Microsoft Auto. This platform will make it possible to integrate functions and portable devices from the field of consumer electronics more closely into the vehicle as soon as 2009.

Consequently, new solutions in consumer electronics will be adapted for in-vehicle use more quickly and easily, since it will only be necessary to add individual software components. This helps close the gap between the short development cycles in communications and information technology and the comparatively long product life cycles in automotive engineering.

"We are pleased that Siemens VDO has chosen Microsoft as their software partner," said Martin Thall, general manager of the Automotive Business Unit at Microsoft.

"The extremely flexible and modular nature of the Microsoft Auto platform makes it perfectly suited to provide a range of innovative infotainment solutions that transform the driving experience by connecting drivers seamlessly to the people, information and entertainment they care about while they are on the road."

"Thanks to this cooperative project with Microsoft, we will be able to incorporate the rapidly changing trends in consumer electronics into the world of automotive electronics in an ideal way," said Helmut Matschi, member of the board of Siemens VDO. "Working together, we will make both current and future multimedia and infotainment solutions, some of which are still under development, available to current vehicle generations."