Google Android's Next Destination: Audi, Honda, GM, Hyundai Cars

Google Android logoGoogle has teamed up with car giants Audi, GM, Honda, and Hyundai, as well as chip designer Nvidia, to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) to bring the Android mobile operating system to automobiles.

"In this multi-screen world, switching between our different devices should be easy and seamless," wrote Google's director of Android Engineering Patrick Brady in a blog post. "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. But there's still an important device that isn't yet connected as seamlessly to the other screens in our lives – the car."

The OAA is a global alliance that has the aim of accelerating automobile innovation. The firms involved claim that they will offer "openness, customisation and scale".

Google is also hoping the feature will be safe enough to not cause distractions or crashes and said it is working with its OAA partners to "enable new forms of integration" with Android devices, adapting it to make driving "safer, easier and more enjoyable."

The initiative will allow the millions of Android users who own cars to use their favorite apps and music with their car's built-in controls and in-dash display without causing distractions. It's basically looking to take Android from your pocket and make it a permanent fixture in your car.

"Together with our putting Android in the car will bring drivers apps and services they already know and love, while enabling automakers to more easily deliver cutting-edge technology to their customers," Brady wrote. "And it will create new opportunities for developers to extend the variety and depth of the Android app ecosystem in new, exciting and safe ways."

The manufacturers involved also touted the benefits of the initiative, with Ricky Hudi, head of Electrics and Electronics Development at Audi, saying it would ensure faster development of car-based technologies.

“The worlds of consumer and automotive technologies have never been more closely aligned, and this alliance will only pave the way for faster innovation. Working toward a common ecosystem benefits driver safety above all,” he said.

Though there are only five car manufacturers on board so far, Google is welcoming other companies to join the OAA to help build "a common platform" for the road.

“Partnering with Google and the OAA on an ecosystem that spans across vehicles and handheld mobile devices furthers our mission to bring vehicles into our owners digital lives and their digital lives into their vehicles," said President of General Motors' Global Connected Consumer unit Mary Chan.  “We see huge opportunities for the Android platform paired with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.”

Google's latest venture is definitely a bigger step forward than Apple in integrating a mobile operating system directly within in-car technology. The best we've seen from Apple so far is iOS in the Car (iOSitC), a standard announced last summer for its iOS devices to be able to work with auto manufacturers' in-car systems. There's also the iBeetle, Volkswagen's first car to feature Apple's iPhone as an integrated component via a specially developed app and docking station.

Brady hinted that we'll see updates in cars from the OAA sometime later this year.

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.