Google launches alliance to bring Android to cars

Google has formed an agreement with Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia to bring the Android operating system to connected cars.

Google OAA
Open Automotive Alliance members include Google, Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia.

The global Open Automotive Alliance, announced today (6 January) at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will make Android the common platform for its members to create apps and other services designed for in-car information and entertainment via in-built controls and connected devices.

Google hopes the formation of the group will make Android the platform of choice in cars by making it easier for users to sync apps and services on their smartphones and tablets inside the cars with a consistent experience. While some car manufacturers already do offer Google apps and services in their connected cars, the platforms they sit on often differ between vehicles, which tend to run on bespoke platforms. 

The OAA mimics the Open Handset Alliance, formed by Google in 2007 to promote Android as a primary operating system for device makers.

Google says the first cars with Android integration will appear by the end of this year and the OAA is also inviting other car makers to join.

The launch of the OAA puts Google head to head with Apple, which is also working on its own “iOS in the Car” initiative with brands including BMW and Mercedes, and Mircrosoft which has versions of Windows working in cars made by Nissan, Kia, Fiat and Ford.

Google’s director of Android engineering Patrick Brady says in a blog post the OAA addresses a “gap” in the market, where cars are not connected as seamlessly as other devices like the phone, tablet and PC.

It continues: “Putting Android in the car will bring drivers apps and services they already know and love, while enabling automakers to more easily deliver cutting-edge technology to their customers. And it will create new opportunities for developers to extend the variety and depth of the Android app ecosystem in new, exciting and safe ways.”

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