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Rivian is actively testing support for Apple Watch to serve as a key for R1T and R1S vehicles, according to the company’s head of software development, Wassym Bensaid. While the details on this feature and timeline have not yet been shared, it is on Rivian’s roadmap for a future software update. Apple offers its own Car Key feature, but it’s unclear if Rivian would adopt this or develop its own custom solution.
During a recent Q&A session, Bensaid elaborated on Rivian’s decision not to support CarPlay. Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe explained in a recent interview that the company’s decision not to use CarPlay is driven by its desire to be the “arbiter or head chef” of the in-car software experience. Bensaid added to this explanation by saying Rivian is working to natively integrate some of the features that CarPlay would offer, including improved support for notifications and text messages. The company is also working to improve its own voice assistant, which Bensaid acknowledges is “not the best”.
“We know that text messaging is really one of the important features and one of the reasons why customers are missing CarPlay, we’re working on that. I think those of you who already have an R1T or an R1S, you know that our voice assistant today is not the best. I’m being super transparent with you. So we’re working also on a number of changes and updates there”, Bensaid said.
Rivian is also working on integrating new audio and video streaming services with its own infotainment system, including Apple Music and Netflix. However, Bensaid stopped short of sharing too much on the subject because “it’s companies who have very big confidentiality requirements”.
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While Rivian’s decision not to support CarPlay may come as a disappointment to some Apple fans, the company’s focus on developing its own in-car software experience may offer some unique and innovative features that aren’t available through existing solutions.
With the promise of improved voice assistant and messaging features, as well as support for Apple Watch as a key and integration with popular streaming services, Rivian’s infotainment system is shaping up to be a compelling option for tech-savvy EV owners.