San Francisco - Google has teamed up with some of the world's largest car makers to integrate its Android operating system directly into cars, the tech company announced on Monday. In addition to the web search giant, the so-called Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) also includes Audi, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, and chip-maker Nvidia.
The consortium aims to integrate the world's most widespread smartphone operating system into vehicles, in what Google executive Patrick Brady termed a "driving-optimized experience." "Wouldn't it be great if you could bring your favourite apps and music with you, and use them safely with your car's built-in controls and in-dash display?" said the Android engineering chief in a blog posting.
"Putting Android in the car will bring drivers apps and services they already know and love, while enabling car makers to more easily deliver cutting-edge technology to their customers." The alliance aims to challenge Apple's plans to integrate its iPhones
into vehicles. While the so-called "iOS in the Car" has still not officially been introduced, Honda has provided one of its features, Siri Eyes Free, in some Accord and Acura models.
The Siri Eyes Free technology is optimized to allow drivers to perform some basic functions through voice commands. Car makers, however, may now prefer the Android operating system, which is provided for free by Google, and which is also open source, meaning that it can be more easily customized for specific vehicles. The inclusion of Nvidia in the alliance also offers advantages.
The chip company said it is developing a new processor specifically for cars. The Tegra K1 VCM (vehicle computing module) adapts the company's latest chip for cars with functions such as pedestrian detection and blind spot monitoring.