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Lear to launch connective tech in Audi vehicles in 2018

DETROIT — Lear Corp. plans to launch vehicle connectivity technology in Audi vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2018, the company said Wednesday.

“Connectivity is happening right now,” Lear CEO Matt Simoncini said at the Technology in Motion conference here. “The data is going to become as important a revenue stream as the hardware. We’ve got to make that pivot as an industry.”

The company’s Connexus hardware enables over-the-air updates and vehicle-to-infrastructure capabilities in cars. The rollout will begin with Audi and spread to other Volkswagen vehicle lines, said a Lear representative. Vehicle-to-infrastructure capabilities will be limited to regions that have developed connected infrastructure — a still nascent project that could take decades.

“Where the cities are capable, the car will be able to pick up those signals,” said Simoncini.

Last year, Audi launched connectivity technology in the Las Vegas region that can receive traffic light information and count down to the next light change for the driver.

The introduction of wireless technologies is part of the seat manufacturer’s wider expansion into future connectivity. Lear has been developing power and data management capabilities, and has rebranded its electronics divisions E-Systems to reflect the evolution.

“This is our business, and we have to grab it,” said Simoncini.

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