Android Automotive as a platform has, technically, existed for years. The problem is that, compared to a smartphone, it takes a long time to design and build a car, so Google's had to wait those years to give the system a proper introduction. After spending some time seeing it demonstrated in the upcoming Polestar 2 (an all-electric vehicle), I think the wait was worth it: this looks legit.
For ages, we've all said the same thing: "All I want is Google Maps on my car's infotainment screen." Android Auto delivered on some of that promise, but the projected app is subject to performance glitches, wonky voice functionality, and can feel like a square peg in a round hole solution for vehicles that clearly weren't designed with touch-first interfaces in mind. Read More
There are a lot of things a software platform needs to succeed, and developer interest is one of the most integral pieces of the puzzle. To help Google's plans for Android Automotive — which brings a full Android OS to cars — the company is gearing up to help interested developers get started at this year's I/O conference. Read More
Volvo has just taken the wraps off of the Polestar 2, an all-electric sedan-crossover thing intended to go head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3. The affordable electric car aspect isn't the only talking point of this; it's also the first vehicle with Google's deeply-integrated Android Automotive infotainment system. Read More
Back at I/O '17, Google announced that Volvo and Audi would be the first manufacturers to introduce a standalone, more deeply integrated version of Android Auto. One year later, at I/O '18, Google actually showed off several cars with prototypes of what it now called "Android Automotive." Now that Volvo has revealed that its all-electric Polestar 2 will be the first car with Android Automotive onboard, we finally have a more concrete arrival date for Google's long-awaited infotainment system. Read More
Google's been at work on infiltrating the automotive industry for a long time. It's managed to wedge its foot firmly in the door with Android Auto, which runs on a wide range of in-market cars from popular brands — but that was never the ultimate goal. After all, Android Auto essentially just mirrors features from an Android device to car's infotainment system, it's not Android running on a car. The latter, more desirable implementation is (somewhat confusingly) called Android Automotive. The Mountain View tech giant showed off its ambitions for this platform at I/O 2018. Now, it's clear the hype was justified; Google has announced a partnership with massive carmaking alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi to run Android Automotive-powered infotainment systems in millions of cars beginning 2021. Read More
By some measures, Android Auto is a huge success. Google's infotainment system is available in cars from dozens of automakers, and consumers will be using these vehicles for years. That's a lot of people incentivized to use services like Assistant and Maps, but Auto is inherently limited as a projected interface from your phone. The car integration tab in Auto remains barren in virtually all vehicles. Google's solution is to build a version of Android that runs on cars, which it calls Android Automotive. We now have a better idea what that could look like.
I/O 2018 marks the second time Google has partnered with automakers to set up elaborate demos of what Android is like when it's actually running on a car. Read More
Google is gearing up for a lot of announcements tomorrow at I/O, but it looks like the company is ready to start sharing ahead of time a little bit of car-related news. It is announcing enhancements to the Android Automotive platform, though that's still a couple of years away from reality, and new capabilities for Android Auto. Read More
Android Automotive remains something of an obscurity, but companies are still happy to tout their latest progress with the platform (or something like it), especially on a stage as large as CES 2018. Before we get to that, it's probably worthwhile to distinguish between Android Automotive and Android Auto: Android Automotive is a standalone, in-vehicle infotainment and control system running Android — basically Android OS for your car. This is a more appealing proposition than the rather laggy experience that is Android Auto, which just projects what's on your phone to an interface that sits in your car. Read More
You might remember our intermittent coverage of Android Automotive — not to be confused with the near-identically named Android Auto. The (really) short version is that Android Automotive is a full Android implementation in a car, rather than just a dumb projection of your phone. And, according to the folks at XDA, Google might be building an emulator for it in the Android SDK. Read More
Google spent much of the I/O 2017 keynote talking about machine learning. In fact, we heard the phrase "AI first" as a description of Google's current plans. You probably have a little sliver of Google's AI capabilities in your pocket right now—Google Assistant. There's one place in particular Google really wants Assistant to live, and that's in your car.
Voice commands in general are extremely well-suited to the car, so it should come as no surprise that Google had two Assistant-infused "Android Automotive" demos on-hand at I/O—one from Volvo (above) and another from Audi. It's more clear now than ever that Google wants to be the smart interface for your car, and it plans to do it with Assistant. Read More