Audi CEO Takes Shot at Google Over Data Privacy

Jun 10, 2015 02:51 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

As odd as it may seem, software is brought up more often these days when it comes to future cars than engine options and horsepower.

This was evident during Audi CEO Rupert Stadler's speech this week at an economic conference in Berlin. The executive decided to use his time to caution drivers everywhere about the emergence of connected vehicles and the role they play regarding data privacy.

"A car is one's second living room today," Stadler said at the business event, according to Reuters. "That's private. The only person who needs access to the data onboard is the customer."

The statement seemed directed towards someone like Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, who also attended the event.

A number of automakers are worried that information like where a car is heading or the speed of a car could be used to help advertisers and insurance companies without people suspecting a thing.

"The customer wants to be at the focus, and does not want to be exploited," added Stadler. "The Internet, cookies and other data collectors are almost common courtesy."

During the same event, Schmidt said that Google has worked with companies like Audi, Volkswagen and Opel for a year.

"I want to emphasize we're doing this with partners," Schmidt said, according to Automotive News. "In our case, we're working with a whole infrastructure here in Germany."

The chairman said he is looking for "essential" German expertise in order to complete major European automotive projects.

Audi is one of the many companies looking to advance their cars with improved software enhancements and even wants to sell a self-driving car one day. Instead of using Google for its cars, the automaker has teamed with Mercedes, BMW, and equity firm General Atlantic to place a bid on Nokia's HERE mapping service. 

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