Automotive traffic and parking data supplier INRIX has announced the acquisition of OpenCar, a U.S.-based automotive software and services provider. OpenCar, backed for the last five years by a strategic partnership with Mazda, offers a white label, standards-based application development environment and framework.
The framework enables the creation, validation, distribution and maintenance of infotainment and telematics applications for connected cars. It is fully controlled by the automaker and enables for brand-, model- and region-specific touch and voice interfaces across the entire infotainment experience.
The OpenCar application ecosystem, includes roughly 1,300 registered developers representing hundreds of companies, covers accommodations, city guides, fuel, internet radio, parking, reviews and more. Automakers can manage the complete in-car app lifecycle worldwide, including over-the-air updates, validation, and model or regional specifications. With this acquisition INRIX goes one step further in the value chain of the connected car. Until now the company had concentrated on “content“: its traffic data, other content aggregated from partners, and more recently it added parking data with the acquisition of ParkMe (read here).
With OpenCar, the company now enters the world of “software“, to bridge the gap between its content and the automakers. This will help the company solidify its market position, but this is likely to be a costly business to keep up with the competition, most notably Tier one automotive suppliers who made significant acquistions to beef up their software know-how (Continental, Harman, as an example). In their press release they position this acquisition as a way to “Challenge Apple and Google in the Car“. That might be a bit ambitious.