Google Reveals Android Autos

BY Azfar Hashim

Google's Android Auto in-car control system for smartphones set to compete with Apple's CarPlay interface

Photo courtesy of Reuters

Claiming commitments from Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen Group to put the system into production vehicles, the technology is a firm sign of Google's ambition to turn the car into another mobile device for its Android operating system. Among the key features shown during the press conference were Google Play Music, Google Maps and a voice-activated text messaging feature. At one point, a Google engineer showed how a driver could read a text from an Android phone, and then push a button on the steering wheel to dictate a reply.

“Most importantly, Android Auto is completely voice-enabled, so that you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road,” Patrick Brady, director of engineering for Android, said during Google I/O, Google's annual developer conference in San Francisco.

The interface, known as Google Auto Link during development, is the first product to emerge from the Open Automotive Alliance, a Google-led group that includes Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and chipmaker NVIDIA Corp.

At the same time however, it also challenges both Apple and Google to help reduce the risk of distracted driving.