Hyundai’s Sonata is the first publically available Android Auto car
Having revealed its automotive ambitions at Google I/O last year, Android Auto has finally made its way to a commercial road vehicle in Hyundai’s latest Sonata model.
With Android Auto, Google is hoping to funnel the driving-related functions of your Android phone into a car’s systems. Directions and messages are displayed on the central navigation screen, and buttons on the dashboard and steering wheel let users interact without taking their hands off the wheel. To further ensure drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times, a paired Android smartphone is locked out, so there’s absolutely no temptation to glance down at its screen. It’s a simple enough premise, and is now available in the Hyundai Sonata 2015 release.
Speaking to PC Pro, Hyundai’s Rachel Goodwin confirmed that “at the moment, Android Auto is only available in the Hyundai Sonata,” clarifying that this “is a model we don’t sell in the UK”.
While that’s a rather solid statement in regards to current Android Auto support in the UK, Hyundai is still considering it for the future. “Hyundai is fine-tuning the system in North America and is working to make it available globally,” continued Goodwin. However, she stated that “no timeline for its international launch is currently available”.
Hyundai has said that existing Sonata owners will be able to have Android Auto installed in their cars free of charge by visiting their local dealership. Later in the year, owners will be able to visit MyHyundai and download the software onto a USB storage device and install it into their car.
Over time, Hyundai hopes to extend Android Auto support across its range of cars, although no timeframe has yet been announced.
Despite Android Auto’s limited rollout in Hyundai’s fleet, it’s impressive to see that Google’s automotive OS has been released within a year of it being announced. Conversely, it’s been nearly two years since Apple’s CarPlay was announced, and while many manufacturers are on board, products are yet to properly materialise.
For now, Android Auto’s success hangs on other manufacturers following in Hyundai’s footsteps.