Furthering Google’s integration into connected cars, Audi and Volvo have announced they will be using the Android OS to power their vehicles operating systems. Such integration will allow the Android software to control basic car functions like heating and cooling, seating position, as well as opening and closing windows. Utilizing Google Assistant these functions would be able to be used with voice commands as well as the car’s touch screen display.
The Android OS will take connected cars a step further then current Android Auto functionality. Where as Android Auto is just a app on your phone that only operates on top of the OEM’s operating system, this new OS will be fully integrated in the car’s core systems. Now before you start thinking of ways to hack the Android OS, it’s primary function is for infotainment by utilizing apps such as Google Assistant, Google Maps and Spotify. The Android OS would not control actual driving functions, such as accelerating or braking. So when will this be available? While Audi has not released any details, Volvo has announced they plan to launch this Android operating system in new models within the next two years.
So what if you have an iPhone and want to use Apple CarPlay? Patrick Brady, the vice president of engineering for Android, has stated in an interview with Bloomberg that Apple CarPlay would be able to run on top of this new embedded Android system. With the nature of Android being an open source platform, each Android software car partner will be able to customize the user interface, controls, and which apps can be used.
Stay tuned for more details after the 2017 Google I/O conference on May 17.