Google forms new organization to bring Android to cars

Other members of the Open Automotive Alliance include Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
January 6, 2014
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3429

Remember those reports of Google and Audi partnering up to create an Android connected car? They were true, but they did not tell the entire story, which has turned to be quite a bit bigger than just that one partnership.

Google is, in fact, looking to integrate the Android system into multiple lines of cars, and has partnered with a number of manufacturers to create the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), the company announced in a blog post on Monday.

"In this multi-screen world, switching between our different devices should be easy and seamless. Common platforms allow for one connected experience across our phone, tablet and PC, so we get the right information at the right time, no matter what device we’re using," Patrick Brady, Director of Android Engineering, wrote. "But there’s still an important device that isn’t yet connected as seamlessly to the other screens in our lives – the car."

The goal of the OAA, he said, is to accelerate auto innovation "with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale." 

In addition to Audi, the other current members of the OAA include GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia, and the organization is already looking for other partners to join.

So how does the OAA work? It offers more details about that in the FAQ section of its website, including the benefits for both automakers, developers and for drivers.

For the automakers and developers, it will allow them to deliver a product to customers which will be both familiar and consistent across multiple brands. Basically, drivers will be able to get into any car and automatically know how to use the system, which will also make it easier for developers to work within that system.

Car manufacturers will "be able to leverage a platform already being used by millions to deliver a familiar and consistent experience to their customers," while the OAA will allow developers to work on a single platform for the connected car, rather than a patchwork of platforms from different automakers.

As for drivers, they will be able to access Android services in a way that is both seamless and safe, unlike the way they are now.

"By working with automakers to deliver these experiences in ways that make sense for the automobile, drivers can get what they're looking for without disrupting their focus on the road," said the OAA.

To make sure that they are promoting safety, the OAA says that is has been in contact with government agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

What specific services and apps will be integrated into Android connected cars is not being revealed at this time, but the OAA does expect to see the first cars with Android integration by the end of this year.

Mobile integrated cars

Google is not the first company to announce that it was creating a connected car.

Apple first made the announcement of its car integration plans back at the WWDC 2013 keynote in June of this year. It said it be making deals with car manufacturers to integrate more features from iOS into their cars, including maps and iMessages. 

Those who have signed up for iOS integration include BMW, Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Honda.

With this new initiative and partnerships, Google is certainly hoping to take on Apple and its iOS in the Car service.

(Image source: http://gigaom.com)

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