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How Android Automotive will make life easier for both automakers and end consumers

Ansgar Moos

Business Development Director, Automotive

Gone are the days of fully mechanical vehicles and car owners who are able to fix their engines under the hot sun in their driveways. Now, computers are so complex that the seamless integration and simplification of the entire car architecture is the new holy grail of manufacturing.

We’re seeing that Google is starting to work with many big names in the automotive industry to bring Android Automotive to vehicles. Android Auto is already on the market, and it makes life easier for car owners who use Android powered smartphones. In short, the main difference between Android Automotive and Android Auto is that ‘Auto’ refers to simply connecting your phone to the vehicle and using its apps, while ‘Automotive’ is Android running as the OS on the car itself. With Android Automotive, apps can be installed directly on the car's IVI system.

Currently, Android Auto is already available in more than 500 car models. And, Google looks to integrate Android Automotive in Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Renault vehicles by 2021, allowing drivers and car manufacturers to indulge in the many benefits that the tech promises.

More voice, fewer hands

Distracted driving is still one of the biggest safety concerns on the road. Year on year, roughly 421,000 people get injured from car accidents because of distracted driving. Android Automotive has the potential to change the game and make driving safer. With the increased use of Android Automotive, Google can implement its Assistant as an integral part of the driving experience. This means controlling many aspects of the car with voice commands, such as opening maps, making phone calls and selecting music. With Google Assistant car integration, drivers will be able to focus more on what’s ahead of them.

Gaining access to the largest global cell phone market

Android is considered a world-dominant technology, with over 90% of smartphones globally running on the OS. With this in mind, the advertising game is changing for car manufacturers. With more cars running on operating systems like Apple CarPlay and Android Automotive, the industry will change, and cars will be marketed based on the types of mobile devices that people have. The difference here, is that Apple CarPlay has left out a significant portion of the market by only focusing on iPhone users. With Android Automotive, manufacturers can tap into the largest smartphone market in the world.

The result could be new revenue streams, such as having native apps installed directly onto the IVI system. For example, a certain car model could partner with streaming services like Netflix to deliver cars with a Netflix app for backseat entertainment preinstalled. In-car advertising based on geolocation would also be a potential stream of service revenue, such as showing the driver an advertisement for their favorite snack spot as a point of interest along their route.

The communication bridge for humans and AI

Driverless vehicles are able to decrease traffic jams, increase safety, and provide a more comfortable driving experience. However, recent arguments have been made against the supposed safety of autonomous cars. The Uber scandal that made headlines all over the world last year is one example, as a result of its autonomous vehicle causing a fatal accident.

Yet, the reason for these current events could lie in the fact that these AI machines are being mixed in with human drivers. Autonomous vehicles are built to follow a set of rules, but if they are on the road with unpredictable human drivers and other road users, there can be accidents. Android Automotive could be used to gather driver behavior data on a case-by-case basis. With this information, driverless cars could communicate with the other human-driven vehicles to anticipate driver behavior, thus avoiding further accidents.

As it stands, it’s clear that Android Automotive has a lot of potential to help make manufacturers’ and consumers’ lives easier. The tech is only now being implemented in vehicles, but the benefits are clear as day. As Android Automotive continues to rise as the future of car OS, we will see more of these advantages surface.

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