Car makers join Google’s plan to connect cars

Oliver Smith
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GOOGLE announced plans yesterday to team up with major manufacturers to put its Android platform into cars by the end of 2014.

Honda, Audi, Hyundai, General Motors and chipmaker Nvidia have all joined Google’s Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), which aims to put the Android mobile software onto in-car entertainment systems, with the first vehicle planned to launch by the end of the year.

“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,” said Google vice president of Android Sundar Pichai.

Google said the first step in the initiative would be to add new features to Android to allow developers to easily add car modes and integration into their mobile apps.

“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,” said Honda research and development director Yoshiharu Yamamoto.

The Android platform has a worldwide installed base of over a billion devices and ships on 70 per cent of all smartphones sold in the five largest European countries, and nearly 80 per cent of the smartphones sold in China.

“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 Audi’s head of electronics Ricky Hudi.

Apple has announced partnerships with car makers to develop support for its own iOS platform in cars which should first become available in the 2014 Honda Civic.

Google said the OAA initiative would be based on open standards and while only four car makers were involved in the announcement, Google said it would welcome other companies in the automotive and technology markets to join.

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