Kirkland startup Inrix is announcing that Audi will use its traffic data services in a new in-dash navigation system the auto maker is debuting in the 2011 A6 in Europe in May.
It’s the third major carmaker — following Ford and Toyota — to use Inrix’s traffic data, which extends beyond highways to arterials and side streets using crowdsourced information from vehicles using the system.
So far 4 million vehicles use the system, mostly in North America, and Inrix has more than 125 customers, including states, online mapping services and mobile application providers.
Audi’s system (screenshot at left) will use Inrix data to provide real-time traffic information, alerts and directions influenced by traffic conditions. Plans for a U.S. release of the Audi system weren’t disclosed.
Inrix sales have grown an average of 90 percent a year over the past three years, and employment will grow from 75 to more than 100 by the end of the year, Chief Executive Bryan Mistele said.
The company is profitable and on track for an initial public offering in 18 to 24 months, said Mistele, who used to lead Microsoft’s automotive software group.
“Our goal is to build this into a billion-dollar business and be the dominant provider of traffic data and services worldwide,” he said.
The Inrix system draws on statistical analysis techniques developed in Microsoft’s advanced research group, which licensed the technology to the startup.