Sun, 20 Jun 2021

Search engine giant Google recently announced a range of cutting-edge in-car features that are being developed as part of the organization's plan to incorporate Android facilities into vehicle design. The industry leader's yearly conference, Google IO 2021, was held from 18 to 20 May this year. At the event, Android for Cars director, Mickey Kataria, revealed a number of ways in which the Android operating system will revolutionize the driver's overall in-car experience. Among the technologies being showcased were high-end Android-powered infotainment systems, as well as instrument clusters boasting full Google Maps integration.

The systems were demonstrated on two new-model vehicles

To showcase the new technology, Google brought out the big guns in the form of the brand new GMC Hummer EV and the BMW iX. The most obvious feature of the Hummer is its gigantic 13.4″, centrally-mounted, color display, which made demonstrating the new features, easy. Infotainment technology has become a common requirement among drivers who are searching for an SUV, car, truck or van. Systems such as those driven by the new Android Auto OS that allows the driver to control everything from navigation to media are in high demand. In essence, the OS will deliver a built-in 'Hey Google' experience to vehicles that are compatible.

Compatible vehicle range bound to increase

At present, a limited range of compatible vehicles are available to the public. Current options include the Volvo XC40, Volvo XC60, and the Polestar 2. Before the end of the year, an additional ten models from Volvo, Renault, and GM are expected to sport the new Android Automotive OS. Google used the BMW iX to showcase some of the new and exciting features that Android Auto will soon boast. As of 2022, Porsche will also start shipping compatible models that will, among others things, have the ability to project Google Maps directly onto the vehicle's dynamic cluster display. In the next five years an ever greater number of vehicles on the roads of the world will be sporting the innovative software.

Two software packages, endless possibilities

Both Android Automotive OS and Android Auto have been created in such a way that apps can be developed to be compatible with both software packages. Google is also working alongside big names such as Flitsmeister, SpotHero, Sygic, Plugshare, and Parkwhiz in an effort to have their applications integrated into vehicle systems. While the finer details are yet to be revealed, it basically means that 'Hey Google' may soon be able to reveal a host of additional information such as tariffs, vacant parking spaces, and charging expenses in vehicles that are either already making use of smartphone-enabled Android Auto software, or are fully powered by Android Automotive OS.

New technologies will continue to alter the in-car experiences for both drivers and passengers in wonderful ways. It will be very interesting to see what else tech entities come up with in the wake of Google's high-stake revelations.

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