Google partners auto giants to brings Android to cars

06/01/2014

Google has struck a deal with General Motors, Honda, Audi, Hyundai and chipmaker Nvidia to integrate the Android mobile operating system for vehicles.

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The ‘Open Automotive Alliance’ is dedicated to bringing Android to the dashboard in a “seamless” fashion.

The technology companies get a chance to place their wares into hundreds of millions of cars.

Meanwhile, the automakers have an opportunity to modernize the software inside their vehicles and try to keep pace with the mobile devices that are starting to make high-profit infotainment systems obsolete.

Both Hyundai and Honda are also in Apple’s rival iOS in the Car initiative.

According to Patrick Brady, Google’s Android engineering chief: “Today, millions of people already bring Android phones and tablets into their cars, but it’s not yet a driving-optimized experience. Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring your favorite apps and music with you, and use them safely with your car’s built-in controls and in-dash display? Together with our OAA partners, we’re working to enable new forms of integration with Android devices, and adapting Android for the car to make driving safer, easier and more enjoyable for everyone.”

Details of this integration remain scarce, but the OAA did say that the first of its Android-ified vehicles will be on the road by the end of this year.

Car makrs have been slow off the groun in terms of adding internet connectivity to their vehicvles.

However, Tesla Motors has lead the way with its all-electric Model S sedan ships. It features a 17-inch touch screen and ready access to things like streaming radio. With a few finger swipes, you can split the screen to have a massive top section for Google Maps and a lower section for music.

Elsewhere, new firm CloudCar has built a small computing device that can be plugged into a car to give it a modern infotainment system.

The idea is that automakers could then upgrade the small unit as needed to bring new features to their vehicles. In addition, software makers would have a common device to aim at with their applications.

Ford has also set up a research center in Palo Alto and open-sourced some of the innards of its cars’ control software to let people create things like custom speedometers.

Read the Google announcement here

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