Android Auto was officially announced almost three years ago during Google I/O 2014. Since then, the system is available in over 300 car models. Android Auto is designed to give drivers an easy way to access information they need such as navigation, streaming audio, and communications. However, Android Auto is not a full operating system, as it merely uses an in-dash car display as an external touchscreen monitor. That’s why Google has been working on Android Automotive, a full-fledged, Android-based operating system that fully integrates with your car’s on-board computer systems.
Google unveiled its plans to bring a full Android OS into cars during last year’s Google I/O 2016. The company promised to work with Qualcomm to bring special versions of their Snapdragon processors for cars. Now, Audi and Volvo has announced that they will build Android Automotive into their next generation of cars, allowing you to control your vehicle’s air conditioning, windows, and other vehicle components. As we reported back in January, Fiat Chrysler vehicles are also shipping with Android Automotive powered in-vehicle infotainment systems.
A preview of the new system is expected to be presented during this week’s Google I/O. Looks like Google is planning to make Android Automotive one of the key topics of the conference. For those of you who are not attending, you can watch the live stream online. The stream will start on May 17 at 2pm PT.
Some people are apprehensive about the idea of Android running on your car. This is understandable given the myriad of software exploits we hear about each week. We hope that Android Automotive does not crash and burn your car (literally), but we think it’s pretty unlikely for that to happen. Google knows what is at stake here, as we aren’t dealing with devices that cost hundreds of dollars any more, but rather purchases in the tens of thousands.