In an effort to make it easier for Android to enter vehicles, major players in the auto and technology industries, including Google, Audi, GM, Honda, Hyndai and NVIDIA, have come together to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA). Their goal is to make Android the standard that will form the basis of the connected car and develop new Android features that will help transform the car into an "Android device."
The flexibility of the Android platform has already seen it under the hood of a number of car infotainment and multimedia systems, such as the Ca-Fi, not to mention the multitude of smartphones and tablets serving as in-car navigation systems. Now, much like the Open Handset Alliance that helped establish Android in the mobile device space, the OAA is aiming to cement Android in car dashboards by making it safer and easier for automakers to integrate the OS (and the hundreds of thousands of apps in Google Play) into their vehicles.
"Millions of people are already familiar with Android and use it everyday," says 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."
But like the mobile device space, Android is going to face stiff competition from iOS, with Apple also teaming up with major automakers in an effort to make its own mobile OS the preferred in-car option. These include Acura, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Jaguar, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Volvo, with Honda and Hyundai hedging their bets with a foot in each camp. Like the first cars with Android integrated into them, such iOS-based systems are set to start appearing in vehicles sometime this year.
The OAA has also sent an open invite for other automotive and technology companies to get on board and says it will work with government agencies to ensure its in-car technology won't distract drivers.