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Android-integrated cars on the horizon as Google joins forces with carmakers

Open Automotive Alliance

Google has joined together with car manufacturers General Motors, Audi, Honda and Hyundai, and makers of super-charged computer chips Nvidia to form the Open Automotive Alliance, with the hope of producing the first Android-integrated cars.

The alliance was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the group outlined its plans to work together towards a common platform. While release times will differ depending on the manufacturer, the alliance hopes to launch the first vehicles at the end of 2014.

Android is the dominant mobile operating system and cars are perhaps the most literal examples of mobile technology, so working with Google makes sense from a manufacturer’s point of view as it should breathe new life into built-in car tech innovation.

“Millions of people are already familiar with Android and use it everyday,” said Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps at Google in a press release. “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.”

The platform will focus on bridging the mobile and automotive experiences and will “create new opportunities for developers to deliver powerful experiences for drivers and passengers in a safe and scalable way”. The companies have been brought together by the fact that they “share a vision for the connected car” and are committed to bringing the best of Android into the car, but there does also seem to be a significant focus on the platform improving driver safety.

“Working toward a common ecosystem benefits driver safety above all,” said Ricky Hudi, Head of Electrics/Electronics Development at AUDI AG.

This isn’t the first time Google has displayed an interest in the automotive — it has also been working on a driverless car. Apple too could have ambitions to integrate its technology into vehicles, having reportedly patented a touchscreen dashboard system, and is also working with a slew of manufacturers — including Honda and Hyundai — on bringing the iOS experience into the car.


The next big battle between the two operating systems could easily be over partnerships with car manufacturers, although the open nature of the Google-led alliance means that it may prove the more attractive option, both to the manufacturers and developers.