Promising ease of integration with car radio, instrumentation and climate control features, Google today unveiled an updated version of its Android operating system in a bid to persuade manufacturers to adopt it is a standard.
While automakers have included infotainment systems based on Android in their vehicles for a number of years, they have done so by customizing a variation of the operating system widely used in mobile phones and tablets. Demonstrated at the Google I/O developer conference, Android N is said to eliminate the need for large-scale redevelopment.
In an interview, Patrick Brady, Android Auto’s director of engineering stated “we’re beginning to turn Android into as much of a car infotainment platform as it is a phone platform today.” Brady indicted that Google plans to make its own automotive interface design freely available to manufacturers as a reference that they can customize to meet specific brand requirements.
Google also announced at the the conference that a standalone version of its Android Auto application will be offered for mobile phones, allowing drivers to safely access apps such as Google Maps or Spotify when a phone is mounted to the dashboard. Additional features coming for Android Auto will include “hotwording,” which enables drivers to set driving destinations, place phone calls and play music using voice input. An Android Auto version of the popular traffic and navigation app Waze is also on the way, as is support for connecting mobile phones to Android Auto-enabled vehicles using WiFi.