GOOGLE has teamed up with leading car-makers Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai, as well as the technology company Nvidia to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) in a big push to expand the use of the Android operating system in the world of “connected car” services.
Initiatives in this area are often one-to-one link-ups between car manufacturers and technology companies – for example Ford’s SYNC, which is the result of a collaboration with Microsoft – although there are also already examples of in-car set-ups using Google’s Android. These include the now-defunct Saab’s IQon and Renault’s R-Link.
The OAA approach, though, holds out the promise of a widely shared industry standard for in-car technology.
That should make for faster development times and economies of scale while still allowing manufacturers plenty of scope to customise services according to their needs – the potential has already been demonstrated by the widespread adoption of Android in smart-phones and tablet computers.
According to Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President for Android, Chrome & Apps at Google, “Millions of people are already familiar with Android and use it every day. 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.”
“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 Ricky Hudi, Head of Electrics/Electronics Development at AUDI AG. “Working toward a common ecosystem benefits driver safety above all.”
The first cars incorporating Android technology under the OAA are expected to appear later this year and the initiative is open to further members.