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Google aiming for Android in cars

2014-01-07 09:14

GOOGLE SET TO TAP INTO CAR INDUSTRY: Google joins forces with leading automakers to integrate Android into cars. Image: AFP

SAN FRANCISCO, California - Google has teamed up with some of the world's largest automakers to integrate its Android operating system directly into cars.

The tech companies announced on January 6 2014 that in addition to the web-search giant the so-called Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) includes Audi, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai and chip-maker Nvidia.

The consortium wants to integrate the world's most widespread smartphone operating system into vehicles in what Google executive Patrick Brady termed "a driving-optimised experience".

'SMARTER CARS'

The Android engineering chief asked in a blog posting: "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 display?

"Putting Android in the car will bring drivers' apps and services they already know and love while enabling automakers to deliver cutting-edge technology to their customers more easily."

The alliance wants to challenge Apple's plans to integrate its iPhone's into vehicles. While the so-called "iOS in the Car" hasn't been officially introduced Honda has provided one of its features, Siri Eyes Free, in some Accord and Acura models.

'SIRI EYES FREE'

Siri Eyes Free has been optimised to allow drivers to perform some basic functions through voice commands. Automakers, however, may now prefer the Android system which is provided free by Google and is open-source, meaning it can easily be customised for specific vehicles.

The inclusion of Nvidia in the alliance also offers advantages. The chip company said it was developing a processor specifically for cars. The Tegra K1 VCM (vehicle computing module) is said to be able to adapt the company's latest chip for cars with functions such as pedestrian detection and blind-spot monitoring.

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