Google is joining a new effort with several automakers to make Android a key platform to add high-technology features into the vehicles of tomorrow.
The new Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) is a partnership between Google, Audi, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai and graphics vendor Nvidia that is "aimed at accelerating auto innovation with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale," according to a Jan. 6 post by Patrick Brady, director of Android Engineering, on the Android Official Blog.
"In this multi-screen world, switching between our different devices should be easy and seamless," wrote Brady. "Common platforms allow for one connected experience across our phone, tablet and PC, so we get the right information at the right time, no matter what device we're using. But there's still an important device that isn't yet connected as seamlessly to the other screens in our lives—the car."
That's where the new OAA will work to change this situation, wrote Brady.
"Today, millions of people already bring Android phones and tablets into their cars, but it's not yet a driving-optimized experience," he wrote. "Wouldn't it be great if you could bring your favorite apps and music with you, and use them safely with your car's built-in controls and in-dash display? Together with our OAA partners, we're working to enable new forms of integration with Android devices, and adapting Android for the car to make driving safer, easier and more enjoyable for everyone."
The idea is that by integrating Android more deeply into vehicles, users of Android mobile devices will be able to gain better access to apps and services in their vehicles, while enabling automakers to more easily deliver cutting-edge technology to their customers, according to the post. The deeper integration will also "create new opportunities for developers to extend the variety and depth of the Android app ecosystem in new, exciting and safe ways," wrote Brady.
"But this is just the beginning; we welcome other automotive and technology companies to join the OAA, to work together to build a common platform to drive innovation in the car and bring Android to the open road," he wrote.
In a statement from the OAA, Ricky Hudi, head of Electrics/Electronics Development at Audi AG, said: "The worlds of consumer and automotive technologies have never been more closely aligned, and this alliance will only pave the way for faster innovation. Working toward a common ecosystems benefits driver safety above all."
Mary Chan, president of General Motors' Global Connected Consumer unit, said in a statement: "Partnering with Google and the OAA on an ecosystem that spans across vehicles and handheld mobile devices furthers our mission to bring vehicles into our owners' digital lives and their digital lives into their vehicles. We see huge opportunities for the Android platform paired with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles."
And Yoshiharu Yamamoto, president, CEO and director of Honda R&D Co., Ltd., said in a statement: "We are very pleased to join this alliance with Google as a founding member because Honda is committed to providing the very best connected-car experience to our customers. The Honda team is looking forward to collaborating with Google and all OAA members to help advance the safety, value and ease of use of connected-car technologies."
New Android features and integrations in vehicles will begin to be seen by the end of this year, according to the OAA.