Audi, like BMW, is betting that the future of cars is in apps.
Audi, like BMW, is betting that the future of cars is in apps. Which is why, according to Peter Schwarzenbauer (Audi’s sales and marketing chief), Audis will be able to download iPhone-style software applications “before the end of the decade.” The car of the future will boast touchscreen dashboards and next generation hardware that is pre-installed while still in the factory.
The pre-installed hardware will have a variety of dormant, yet customizable components that can be “activated” by buying specific apps. For example, one could purchase an app for “heated seats,” in which the heating components in the hardware would only go live after an app is downloaded and installed. Other downloadable apps might include GPS systems, electronic chassis controls, and different grades of stereo systems.
In addition, pre-installed hardware and purchaseable apps will shorten the 12-week production cycle required for Audi to build a car to order. Future cars will be built in stock fashion with the customization completed at point-of-sale through app sales.