Google this week launched its Apple CarPlay competitor Android Auto with the first car boasting the two in-car control systems to go on-sale by the end of 2014.

BOASTING COMMITMENTS FROM most of the world’s car makers, Google this week launched its rival to Apple’s CarPlay in-car control system for smartphones.

According to Google, which launched Android Auto at its annual developer conference in San Francisco, Google I/O, car makers: Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo (members of the Open Automotive Alliance) have committed to including the system in their vehicles . The first models to include Google Auto Link will go on-sale by the end of 2014.

With more than 25% of collisions now attributed to driver’s distracted by using their smartphones while driving, Google claims its in-car control system, as does Apple with CarPlay, will help reduce the risk of distracted driving.

“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 the conference.

Unlike Apple’s CarPlay, Android Auto is not an embedded operating system, but rather a projected system, meaning that Android smartphones can be connected to the car and then operated using the car’s controls and display screen.

While Google didn’t announce which car maker would be the first to offer Android Auto, Hyundai has stated its 2015 Sonata will offer both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. To be released at the end of 2014, that might just make the Korean car maker the first to market with both in-car control systems. Volvo has also announced that it will also offer both systems, the first being the all-new Volvo XC90 which the brand will publicly unveil at the Paris Motor Show in October.

“Volvo Car Group’s philosophy when it comes to the use of the technology in our cars reflects our customers’ desire get the best from their lives without adding complexity. Android Auto represents another step towards creating a unique, enjoyable and easy-to-use experience in Volvo cars,” said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management.


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