Apple and Google both declined to comment on legal matters.
Whatever terms car companies set for their relationships with Apple and Google will set an important precedent, said David Strickland, the former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who now consults with the industry as an attorney at Venable LLP. A deal struck today could become the norm for future dealings with Apple and Google, and if car companies deviate from usual policies to accommodate Apple and Google, other suppliers may ask for the same treatment.
"The manufacturers," Strickland said, "have to play chess five moves ahead."
Apple and Google have signaled they are happy with uptake of CarPlay and Android Auto. More than 40 car models will ship with CarPlay by the end of this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said last month at an event here.
"It's unbelievable momentum," Cook said.
Apple hasn't identified these models. Most automakers have kept mum. Honda, Acura and Volkswagen all say they will offer both systems in 2015, but they have not announced in which models they will appear.
Kia has tapped the 2016 Optima, which goes on sale this fall, as its first model to offer Android Auto and CarPlay. Audi is expected to launch them with the redesigned A4, which arrives in U.S. showrooms in early 2016.
Ford built its new Sync 3 infotainment system to support Android Auto and CarPlay. Some cars may be sold before Android Auto and CarPlay are ready, a Ford spokesman said, but they could get the software later using the car's Wi-Fi connection.
IHS projects that 800,000 vehicles will be sold globally with CarPlay in 2015, rising to 3.2 million in 2016, while Android Auto will ship in 600,000 vehicles in 2015 and 3.1 million in 2016. Most vehicles equipped with one system also will have the other.
Audi spokesman Brad Stertz said the company's launch of CarPlay and Android Auto remains on schedule. Audi never intended to be first to market, he said, because CarPlay and Android Auto were designed for touch screens, and the rotating knob and touchpad used for Audi's MMI interface had to be reprogrammed to work with them.
"We're right where we thought we would be," Stertz said. "Customers want it right now, of course, but there's more re-engineering that has to be done."