Automotive OEMs look to Android

June 26, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), a group of carmakers launched to make the Android operating system domestic in the automotive realm, has added a host of new members in its ranks.

Among the newcomers are Fiat along with its subsidiary Maserati, Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Renault, Chinese-Swedish carmaker Volvo as well as Volkswagen with its subsidiaries Bentley, Seat and Skoda. The accession has been announced at Google's I/O developers conference - a hint who is really the driving force behind the OAA.

The OAA defines the Android interface as a standard for integrating Android devices into the car. In parallel to the conference, Google rainmaker Sundai Pichai, announced Android Auto on the company's product blog. Android Auto will be a piece of software that connects Android smartphones to the cars and provides turn-by-turn navigation based on Google Maps as well as playlists and internet radio connectivity, all controlled by the Google Now voice recognition. Android Auto will make it possible for smartphone content to be displayed on the vehicle's infotainment system. The software will be specifically adapted to driver's needs in terms of road safety - for instance Pichai claimed that it will be optimized to avoid drivers distraction. It will be available already in a couple of months - in any case before the end of the year.

The OAA has been launched in January by a group of automotive OEMs as well as graphics chip manufacturer Nvidia and Google. The OEMs were Audi (another Volkswagen subsidiary), GM, Honda and Hyundai, with the purpose of implanting Android as the world's most popular operating system for mobile devices into cars.