Volkswagen AG's American unit on Friday said it is working on a prototype vehicle which features Google Inc.'s satellite mapping software to give drivers a bird's eye view of the road ahead.
The two companies are working with the graphics chipmaker Nvidia Corp. to build an in-car navigation map system and a three-dimensional display so passengers can recognize where they are in relation to the surrounding topography.
Volkswagen of America Inc., working through its Electronics Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, California, in Silicon Valley, is working on other advancements, including automatic personalized information updates for the navigation systems.
The car manufacturer showed off the prototype car at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
A spokesman for the automaker said there were no definite plans to use the technology inside cars. But the collaboration between the automaker and Google shows the progress the Web search leader is making expanding beyond the computer realm.
Google introduced Google Earth last June as a free satellite imagery-based mapping product based on technology from Keyhole, a company Google bought in October 2004.
Google Earth has attracted controversy since then from governments ranging from South Korea to India for offering a potential national security risk as it enables anyone to zoom in on aerial images of landmarks such as airports.