The whole world seems to love Android! Google’s open source Operating System has a wider acceptance and is getting into numerous portable devices. Now it has caught the imagination of the automobile sector as well. It has come to stay in in-car infotainment as a platform. But that’s not all for this operating system as the futuristic technology takes shape.
First Android Production Car
The car Roewe is probably the first production car that has the Android 2.1 operating system equipped in it. The Chinese car company SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) officially manufactures cars using technology bought from MG Rover and SAIC will produce this model. The Android can be found integrated in the vehicle’s GPS computer. This version of OS is used by Google in the Nexus One and Motorola Droid. The car’s internal system such as the Media player, DVD player and others will be running on this OS. This Chinese manufacturer has also come up with an electric powered version of this car.
Google Android Takes the Lead
Google too has been working with the automotive industry for some time. The new German luxury car Audi 8 will be having the Google Maps Navigation system complete with a set of Google services integrated with the Audi navigation system. Google Earth here has Local search, Maps, 3D Terrain, Satellite Imagery, Panaroma and even Wikipedia. So the Android will soon be in your car too. This could be the beginning of self-driving cars, which Google has been testing experimentally for some time now. The Nevada State of US officially approved self-driving cars with Google working closely with the authorities in Nevada Dept. of Motor Vehicles. The rules are presently for testing driver-less cars on the state roads. Ford and General Motors have already stated that they will be working closely with Google to bring out Android integrated cars.
French car-maker Renault too has joined in the race. Renault has its version, the R-link coming in their Clio and Zoe models. It comes with a 7-inch touchscreen device on dashboard and it is based on the Android OS. They have opened up the platform for developers and fifty more apps are ready for launch. Another development is called AutoLinQ, which is being developed by Continental and claims to do what an Android device can do along with dedicated apps. For instance, an app can send messages to parents with details of the teen driving the car. It also has geo-fencing application to limit the area of the driver to a particular assigned area. Another Chinese car brand Luxgen in partnership with HTC, has shown off its model Luxgen5 with a 9-inch Android powered console with connected internet.
Myriad Group has created the Alien Dalvik virtual machine. This device powers Android apps on non-Android devices. Myriad is in discussion with major car-makers to take it into production cars. It is believed that General Motors is thinking in similar lines for Chevy Volt’s futuristic ‘OnStar’ system. Finding Android outselling iPhones, most in-car entertainment systems are increasingly being integrated into Android devices.
Harman International, the automotive supplier now integrates the Android Open Accessory Protocol to its infotainment system. This will allow the car users to connect Google-powered smartphones, tablets or other integrated apps for navigation and POI programs. Again, the Japanese auto-maker Toyota in association with Harman is commuted to advanced infotainment. Models like Yaris, Prius, Hilux and VersoS have the Toyota Entune multimedia system. This is compatible with Android, Apple and Blackberry smartphones. It also combines automotive navigation and integrated connectivity.
Ford too has moved in this direction and has the beta version running on OpenXC platform, which is based on the Android platform with OBD-2 port interface. A company called Rydeen has also developed a touch-screen based rear view mirror with android platform. The Parrot Asteroid is another good after-market deck which is voice activated and fits into the dashboard’s single DIN slot. The unit will come with a 3.2” TFT colour screen, RCA, a jack cable and 4 USB ports running on a customised Android version. It will provide you driving assistance, a radio player, geo-localisation and the facility to install apps.
In all likelihood, the integration of Android OS in automobiles is the beginning of a technological revolution that could surprisingly change the way we commute on roads or the concept of how we will be transported later in this millennium.