This will allow all Android smartphone owners to use Google Maps and other functions safely on the move – and Google may even auto-enable the Android Auto app when it detects the smartphone is connected to in-car Bluetooth.
Such a convenience feature would boost safety by auto-configuring a smartphone for easy in-car use. UK law bans the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving; Google’s solution gets around this by enhancing hands-free operation of sat nav and other functions.
Android Auto may also offer enhanced voice control, using the ‘OK Google’ command, for full hands-free use.
Google built into your car?
Google’s plans go further though: with the new Android N platform, it wants to become a full car infotainment platform, integrating into a car’s systems to take over in-car digital displays and infotainment screens.
This would add Android Auto functionality to dial clusters and integrate Google with in-car features such as climate control, audio and navigation.
Google is showing a Maserati Ghibli fitted with a huge central touchscreen and a large digital instrument console, both running the full Android N platform.
Developed with tech partner Qualcomm, powerful Snapdragon chipsets allow Google to offer a ‘turn-key’ platform for turning mainstream cars into ‘connected cars’, without car makers going to the expense of developing propriety systems.
It could offer a way to add connected car tech into affordable cars, potentially accelerating the rollout of new infotainment functionality. Like Android for smartphones, it would be an open source platform that car makers could configure as they wished – and it’s likely that Google’s solution would facilitate Apple CarPlay being embedded in a similar way.
Whether car makers would be prepared to let these software companies, both of whom are developing their own car projects, be embedded so deeply into the functionality of vehicles is another matter…