Google Rolling Out a Complete OS Version of Android for Automobiles

Swedish luxury vehicle company Volvo Cars on partners with Google to develop the next generation of its award-winning in-car infotainment and connectivity solution based on Android, offering access to a wide array of apps and services.

The Audi Q8 Sport Concept's large MMI touchscreen infotainment system, which is located on the center dashboard, is able to stream Spotify and Google Play Music. The firm expects to implement the Android platform on new models within two years.

As Engadget notes, the Android Auto is likely to revolutionize the vehicle interface sector in the coming years simply because it has significantly more flexibility and features. While it's unclear when these Android-equipped autos will hit the road, this is a deeper integration than earlier iterations of Android Auto.

Google joins several others in the race to advance the connected auto experience, including Blackberry with its QNX Operating System and Apple with CarPlay.

The Android for the auto also integrates Google Assistant, which is the artificial intelligence-powered, voice-based virtual assistant-this is already available in Android phones, and will enable much smarter voice-based controls in the car-which will be a first-of-its-kind implementation.

Navigation meanwhile defaults to Audi's built-in option - still running as an Android app, but without the features you might expect from Google Maps. A message centre for incoming messages and calls round out the new services in the show auto.

The most obvious difference between Android Auto and Audi's particular flavor is visual: Audi reskinned Android Auto to make it match their aesthetic throughout the vehicle.

It's the first time we've seen these integrated in to Audi's own system, and although the new system still relies on Audi's own mapping you can choose to use Google maps instead too. Combined with the expertise of the open Android community, opening up prospects such as new apps finding their way into the cars as additional connected services provided they meet Google and Audi's requirements.

Vanessa Coleman