Intel and BMW making music at CeBit

Intel and BMW are working on new in-car navigation and entertainment technologies

Intel appears to be using this week's CeBit expo to extend its relationship with BMW from the racetrack to the autobahn.

The chipmaker, news reports say, has partnered with the automaker around designing in-car information and entertainment systems. Intel and BMW already have a fairly extensive relationship on-track at least. Intel sponsors the BMW Sauber Formula 1 team. Ironically, the Intel/BMW car battles on-track with the AMD-sponsored Scuderia Ferrari. (Ferarri has won a lot more races than BMW of late.)

But, racing sponsorships aside, the automobile electronics market has become a goldmine for chipmakers like Intel as car manufacturers have increased their use of silicon to assist in applications ranging from engine controls to stability and traction control systems. The number of processors in a given car model appears to be rising as manufactures continue to add more features, including more advanced entertainment and navigation as well as comfort/safety-devices such as active cruise control.

But automotive space is a relatively new market for Intel, which has been working to extend its Intel Architecture or x86-based chips such as the Core 2 Duo, into new applications in the consumer electronics market. This is a particularly important effort now that Intel has sold its Xscale application business to Marvell Technology. But does this mean that future BMW will have VIIV inside? Not exactly. According to Reuters, (Link:  here) the first products to come out of the Intel/BMW technology partnership will be items such as a voice-enabled adapter for Apple Computer iPod music players.