Google announced a number of Android initiatives based on its upcoming Android L at their I/O 2014 Developer Conference yesterday. One of the more interesting features was the announcement of Android Auto. While Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance a few months ago, Android Auto gives us a better look at what exactly the OAA will eventually be bringing to the automotive market.
With this announcement, drivers will have a choice between Android and Apple based systems integration in new vehicles with in-dash systems (manufacturer-dependent), and older vehicles with third-party systems. With Android Auto, connecting your phone to the system will give you access to your music, contacts, messages, navigation, and more while allowing you to safely focus on driving with hands free voice commands. Using the card based focus which has been appearing in Android updates and takes a front seat in the newly announced Android L, useful information will be displayed when it’s relevant. Google Maps has been redesigned to fit this format as well with voice-guided navigation, live traffic information, lane guidance, and more. With voice activation and commands, drivers will be able to access various information including navigation, music, voice calls, text messages, and vehicle specific apps.
As Ricky Hudi, Head of Development Electrics/Electronics, AUDI AG says:
“There can be no denying the connected car era has arrived, and with it comes the expectation that the data and functions provided by smartphone apps will seamlessly bridge to Audi infotainment environments as the ‘fourth screen’ in our customers’ lives. The progress made with our Open Automotive Alliance partners shows how this can be achieved with safety and security at the forefront.”
As with Apple’s CarPlay, a number of automotive manufacturers, aftermarket manufacturers, and apps have been announced.
Aftermarket Manufacturers/Technology Partners
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It will be interesting to see how automotive manufacturers who have committed to both Android Auto and CarPlay – or have existing systems such as Chrysler’s UConnect – will offer these as options in their new vehicles.
“Becoming a member of the Open Automotive Alliance offers us a great opportunity to explore how we will bring a familiar set of Android features into our Chrysler Group, Abarth, Alfa Romeo and Fiat Uconnect systems globally. This membership will complement our mission to enable drivers to stay conveniently connected while keeping their hands on the wheel and their focus on driving.” -Alan Amici, Head of Uconnect Systems and Services, Chrysler Group LLC. (note: emphasis added)
Both Android Auto and CarPlay will be available on select new vehicles in 2014.