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Apple enters car market with Metaio acquisition

Posted: 04 Jun 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Apple? augmented reality? car navigation system?

Media reports confirm that Apple has acquired Metaio, a Munich-based augmented reality software vendor. Analysts believe that the move will help Apple in its alleged plans to enter the automotive market.

Augmented reality technology increasingly becomes relevant for cars, and Metaio was a major player in this arena. At the recent Embedded World trade fair, FPGA vendor Xilinx showcased a camera-based indoor navigation application that helps car drivers to find their way in multi-story and underground car parks. The application ran on a Xlinix Zync processor; the software came from Metaio.

Another known Metaio application is an interactive user manual for car drivers that makes use of AR elements. Metaio's most visible project however was not directed to the automotive industry: Swedish furniture maker Ikea had Metaio develop a smartphone app that enabled prospective users to arrange Ikea furniture in their homes.

According to media reports, Metaio has already acknowledged the takeover, and the company's website has drastically reduced its content. Given Metaio's known relationship with the automotive industry, Apple's move now raises speculations regarding the company's plans to enter the automotive market.

Only some months ago, the German carmaker scene was in turmoil because the Silicon-Valley based technology group apparently was on a shopping spree for expert labour force; Apple hired several high-profile car managers. Recently, Apple manager Jeff Williams referred to the car as "the ultimate mobile device."

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
??EE Times Europe

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