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Audi And Volvo To Feature Next Generation Of Google's Android Auto In Newest Cars

16 May 2017, 8:18 am EDT By Kevin Billings Tech Times
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Self-driving car technology faces a crucial test in the U.S.
As more cars adopt Android Auto, Google teams with Audi and Volvo to continue evolving it into a phone-free OS. The photo shows Patrick Brady, the vice president of engineering at Android, speaking at the Google I/O Developers Conference in 2014.  ( Stephen Lam | Getty Images )

Infotainment systems are becoming far more common in cars than they were a few years ago. Most cars on the street have some kind of functionality with iOS or Android devices, but Google is looking to take the next step - and with its annual Google I/O event coming, the company may have taken a big one.

Audi And Volvo Step Up

Audi and Volvo announced that they are teaming up with Google to help grow Google's Android Auto program. The plan is to include the infotainment system into the manufacturers' next generation of cars that will be shown off during Google I/O. This feature would be first added to the Audi Q8 Sport and Volvo XC60, so as to test the waters with this new program.

The general idea behind the program is to provide apps like Spotify, Google Maps, and more to the car owner, without the need for the owner to have an Android smartphone. This is a big step forward, as most smart features in cars are reliant on connectivity with a smart device, whereas Android Auto is an operating system built into the car itself.

Fast Growth

It also shows the short turnaround that the program has seen, only being announced three years ago during the 2014 Google I/O event, and showed off a concept of the program last year thanks to a partnership with Maserati and Qualcomm. Since then, there are more than 300 car models that have Android Auto featured in the car, though the features of the current iteration still require a smartphone connection.

The program is also being designed for ease of use for any manufacturers adapting the program to new car models. This means the controls and interface can be modified to match the car manufacturer, meaning Android Auto in a Honda may have a different interface to a Chrysler.

Competitive Edge

Much of this helps keep Google ahead in a market that is quickly getting crowded. The company's main competition in building a car OS is Apple, which developed its own program, CarPlay. It operates similarly to Android Auto and is currently reliant on smart devices to work.

However, like Google, Apple is investing more into CarPlay to make it a built-in car feature. Despite the growing competition in this space, Patrick Brady, the vice president of engineering at Android, told Bloomberg News that CarPlay would still work on top of cars that feature the built-in Android Auto system.

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Kevin Billings Tech Times editor Kevin Billings is a born geek at heart. Whether it's video games, movies, tv, comics, or tech, you will likely find Kevin there. And he feels gratified in his passions now that geek culture has come to dominate mainstream pop culture.

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