After promising to build Android into their next generation of vehicles, Volvo and Audi have now made a public commitment to Google’s OS. On Monday ahead of Google’s I/O developer conference, both automakers announced that they will integrate Android in their upcoming connected cars.
How Android helps Volvo and Audi
Both automakers will use Android as the operating system for the infotainment units in their cars instead of simply allowing smartphones to interact with them. The final product, according to TechCrunch, goes beyond entertainment and navigation to assist passengers and drivers in controlling the windows, AC, sunroof, and more through built-in Android.
Users will be able to use several Android-specific apps and Google Maps for navigation. Drivers will also be able to control the heating and cooling and their seat position, find a new Spotify playlist, and talk to their Google voice assistant using the same console.
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As more features get added to Google’s OS, it will also make sure that cars of the future have all the features of a smartphone and other smart accessories. The company will add new services like Google Assistant to the apps and integrations that are already available on Android Auto, notes The Verge. However, the OS will not be able to control the cars’ critical safety systems like the brakes.
When can we expect these cars?
The search giant already demonstrated a Maserati running Android at its Google I/O developer conference last year. Volvo says it is planning to release Android on its new models within two years, while Audi will show off its Android version model in the new Audi Q8 Sport concept. The automaker will also add Google Local Search to its current cars equipped with Sensus Navigation.
In a statement, Henrik Green, SVP of research and development at Volvo, said that they will embrace a rich ecosystem with the advent of Android while keeping their iconic Volvo user interface.
“We will offer hundreds of popular apps and the best integrated experience in this broad, connected environment,” the executive said.
How this helps Google
Google has been pushing Android as a “turnkey” platform since Nougat. Users can use the “turnkey” platform in cars just like phone manufacturers do, notes Engadget.
With its partnerships with Volvo and Audi, the search giant is taking an important step toward turning its OS into a complete operating system for cars that do not require the use of a smartphone. Soon, the manufacturer-tweaked versions of Google’s OS will be powering the digital dashboards behind the steering wheel and the main touchscreen displays of cars.
Further, the integration of Android in cars will help Google move ahead of rivals like Apple in terms of gaining more market in automobiles. This lead will become more important over time as cars become the center of mobile activity and additional connected activities from other gadgets, resulting in generations of more data. Such data can be useful for Google as an advertising platform and also help in other aspects of its business like media delivery, notes TechCrunch.