Cramming mobile technology and other goodies into automobiles is a recurring theme at CES 2014, and even Google is getting in on the action. The web giant is normally pretty quiet at the industry's biggest hardware trade show, but today it officially launches the Open Automotive Alliance, a collaborative association aimed at bringing Android to your car. Google and NVIDIA have already partnered with some of the biggest car companies in the world, encompassing the American, European, and Asian markets: General Motors, Honda, Audi, and Hyundai.
An existing Audi model with an NVIDIA-powered navigation system displaying Google Earth.
So what exactly is the point of the Open Automotive Alliance? According to the sparse press release on the new website, the purpose of the OAA is to "[bring] the Android platform to a device that’s always been mobile: the car." Talking points for the Alliance's initial PR include openness, customization, and scale - basically the same things that have attracted Android's phone and tablet manufacturers. In-car entertainment and communication systems as well as more robust dashboard and heads-up displays would seem to be a natural fit.
Millions of people are already familiar with Android and use it everyday,” said Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps at Google. “The expansion of the Android platform into automotive will allow our industry partners to more easily integrate mobile technology into cars and offer drivers a familiar, seamless experience so they can focus on the road.
None of the technology or automotive partners are showing off hardware at the moment, but that could very well change by the time that CES is over. The Detroit Auto Show is just three weeks away, so we might get a peek at concepts and early hardware there as well. The OAA website says that you can "expect to see the first cars with Android integration by the end of this year." NVIDIA is already talking up its Tegra platform for further inclusion in car electronics systems.
Dedicated Android users may scoff at the "Open Automotive Alliance" title - the Google-led Open Handset Alliance has become something of a laughingstock after its fantastically failed promise to update Android devices to the latest software for at least 18 months after release. But the OHA is still very much alive, and in fact it's grown to encompass dozens of phone manufacturers, mobile operators, software firms, and OEM suppliers. It just doesn't have much to say when it comes to consumer-facing functions. Perhaps it's telling that the new Open Automotive Alliance has not made any definitive statements on its initial announcement.
Source: Open Automotive Alliance - thanks, Jaime!
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.; INGOLSTADT, Germany; DETROIT, Mich.; TOKYO, Japan; SEOUL, South Korea., January 6, 2014 – Extending the success of the Android ecosystem, which has seen over one billion devices activated to date, a coalition of auto and technology companies announced today a new industry alliance aimed at bringing the Android platform to a device that’s always been mobile: the car.
Audi, GM, Google, Honda, Hyundai and NVIDIA have joined together to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), a global alliance of technology and auto industry leaders committed to bringing the Android platform to cars starting in 2014. The OAA is dedicated to a common platform that will drive innovation, and make technology in the car safer and more intuitive for everyone.
The OAA is aimed at accelerating auto innovation with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale, key tenets that have already made Android a familiar part of millions of people's lives. This open development model and common platform will allow automakers to more easily bring cutting-edge technology to their drivers, and create new opportunities for developers to deliver powerful experiences for drivers and passengers in a safe and scalable way.
“The worlds of consumer and automotive technologies have never been more closely aligned, and this alliance will only pave the way for faster innovation,” said Ricky Hudi, Head of Electrics/Electronics Development at AUDI AG. “Working toward a common ecosystems benefits driver safety above all.”
“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 Mary Chan, President of General Motors' Global Connected Consumer unit. “We see huge opportunities for the Android platform paired with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.”
“Millions of people are already familiar with Android and use it everyday,” said Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps at Google. “The expansion of the Android platform into automotive will allow our industry partners to more easily integrate mobile technology into cars and offer drivers a familiar, seamless experience so they can focus on the road.”
“We are very pleased to join this alliance with Google as a founding member because Honda is committed to providing the very best connected-car experience to our customers,” said Yoshiharu Yamamoto, president, CEO and director of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. “The Honda team is looking forward to collaborating with Google and all OAA members to help advance the safety, value and ease of use of connected-car technologies.”
“Through the OAA, our customers using Android devices will soon be able to enjoy the continuous user experience in their Hyundai and Kia vehicles.” said Dr. Woong-Chul Yang, Vice Chairman of R&D, Hyundai Motor Group. “By introducing the latest IT technologies safely and securely throughout our full range of vehicles, we continually strive to provide the highest levels of convenience and enhance the in-vehicle experience.”
“The car is the ultimate mobile computer. With onboard supercomputing chips, futuristic cars of our dreams will no longer be science fiction,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer, NVIDIA. “The OAA will enable the car industry to bring these amazing cars to market faster.”
OAA members share a vision for the connected car, and bringing these open standards of innovation to the market will help extend people’s mobile experience seamlessly to another platform they already know and love. Timing from each automaker will vary, but you can expect to see the first cars with Android integration by the end of this year. The OAA invites other automotive technology companies to join in this endeavor.