Apple developing iPhone-based platform for managing in-vehicle systems

Apple developing iPhone-based platform for managing in-vehicle systems

access_time2021-10-08 15:43:02

Apple Inc. is developing a software platform that will enable users to adjust the settings of their cars’ in-vehicle systems via an iPhone, Bloomberg reported this morning. 

The platform is said to have been code-named “IronHeart” by the company’s engineers. IronHeart will complement Apple’s existing Car Play technology, which enables users to project apps from an iPhone to a vehicle’s built-in display. The company also offers a feature called Car Key as part of iOS 14 that allows users to unlock their vehicles with an iPhone or an Apple Watch.

IronHeart reportedly will make it possible to adjust a car’s seats, armrests, radio and air conditioning unit, as well as other systems. Users will gain the ability to manage settings via their iPhones rather than the built-in software provided by automakers. The project was described by Bloomberg’s sources as being at an early stage, which hints that more capabilities could be added over time. 

Apple reportedly plans to make IronHeart available to automakers through an application programming interface. It’s believed that the API could make the software easier to implement in some respects, which may help boost industry adoption.

Vehicle software can be delivered in several ways, some of which require automakers to replace the existing code they ship with cars. In contrast, the API that Apple is said to be planning for IronHeart would enable a manufacturer to integrate the system with existing code rather than replace it. Moreover, the API is expected to give automakers the ability to customize which of IronHeart’s features their cars support. 

Today’s report comes as Apple is said to be continuing work on its long-rumored initiative to develop an electric vehicle with autonomous driving features. The iPhone maker is believed to have assigned hundreds of employees to the project. To advance development efforts, Apple in 2019 acquired Inc., a venture-backed startup that had built deep learning software for autonomous driving applications.

Rival Google LLC is also working to expand its presence in the auto market. Earlier this year, the search giant inked a broad partnership with Ford Motor Co. to install Android in millions of upcoming vehicles. Additionally, Ford named Google its preferred cloud provider and announced plans to form a “collaborative group” with the search giant where employees from both companies will work on new technology projects.

Google argues that using Android as an in-vehicle operating system allows automakers to free up software development resources and focus on building new services for customers. Ford is not the only major industry player that has signed up. Honda Motor Ltd. and General Motors Co. have announced their own agreements with Google to use Android in future vehicles. 


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