Google pushes Android as smart car OS

Google wants Android to be the operating system for smart cars, and has signed up several manufacturers to its Open Auto Alliance.

Google pushes Android as smart car OS

Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai have founded the alliance alongside Nvidia and Google, hoping to make it easier to embed the platform in cars and to encourage app development.

The aim is to bring satnav and other driving apps, as well as entertainment such as music streaming, to in-car systems, which Google noted was a safer option than fiddling with smartphones or tablets while driving. Android is already used as the basis for several in-car entertainment systems, but this initiative will see the OS embedded into the cars’ dashboard.

“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?” said director of Android engineering Patrick Brady in a post on the Google blog.

Cars will be able to interact with other Android devices – to stream music from a smartphone or tablet, for example – and the OAA is also “developing new Android platform features that will enable the car itself to become a connected Android device”.

The alliance said that Android cars could be on the roads soon. “Timing from each automaker will vary, but you can expect to see the first cars with Android integration by the end of this year.”

The OAA stressed it was an open-standards group, and would welcome any car maker or tech developer who was interested in taking part, but is sticking with an Android “platform-centric” approach because millions of people already use the OS, and focusing on one system will encourage “high-quality application development”.

Apple announced its own smart car platform last summer, iOS in the Car, alongside a car-specific version of voice-controller Siri. Apple said the two systems will start arriving in cars this year, with Honda already rolling it out as an option on Accords and Civics.

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