Car News

Google takes over Audi and Volvo infotainment, but Apple CarPlay stays

Google Android may soon be able to control every aspect of your car… from selecting music to locking the doors.

GOOGLE HAS ANNOUNCED a partnership with Audi and Volvo to provide its new operating system in future models. Android Automotive, which differs to Android Auto, will control most functions and is based on operating system Android 7.0 Nougat.

Unlike Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which displays basic functions of a connected smartphone, Android Automotive will be the core operating system of the car’s infotainment and digital dash. It will also extend to controlling functions like climate control, seat position, wipers and operating electric windows.

Google has already showcased the possibilities of Android when it revealed a Maserati Ghibli with vertical 15-inch 4K resolution screen. In that car the system operated functions including climate control and electric windows, and replaced the dash with an Android based display.

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The new operating system for Audi and Volvo, which Google has been working on since 2014, won’t require a compatible mobile phone be plugged in, although it will provide the ability to operate functions such as closing the sunroof and changing the climate control temperature.

Android will also add Google Assistant – similar to Apple’s Siri – and other Google services, but it will be integrated into operating all aspects of the car. There’s also the potential to utilise Google technology such as facial recognition and eye tracking to enhance safety systems, however, Google has said it won’t be the primary operating system for safety features like autonomous emergency braking just yet.

At the moment the operating system is open source, which allows developers outside of Google to easily work on creating apps and other functionality. Google has not yet commented on how a vehicle will remain secure from potential hacking and viruses.

While the core operating system will be based on Google Android, features such as Apple CarPlay and its compatibility with Apple iPhones and Siri will remain, according to Android Auto director of engineering, Patrick Brady.

Audi’s latest Q8 Sport concept shows off the new technology and Volvo said it plans to have it in cars within two years.

Alex Rae

Alex Rae

Alex Rae grew up among some of the great stages of Targa Tasmania, an event that sparked his passion for all things mechanical. Currently living across Bass Strait in Melbourne, Alex has worked for the last decade in the automotive world as both a photographer and journalist, and is now a freelancer for various publications. When not driving for work Alex can be found tinkering in the shed on of one his project Zeds or planning his next gravel rally car.