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Nowcar Google open source infotainment android auto

Google Offers Automakers More Options with its Open-source Infotainment Platform

Written By, Jordan R

In today’s auto industry, automakers are shaking more and more hands with other companies to integrate some of the best technologies to offer consumers. Stellantis and Amazon have been busy adding more tech like Amazon FireTV and the new Uconnect store to give consumers more personalization and customization of their driver experience with downloadable apps. The Kia Corp is doing the same with its Kia Connect Store. Google is joining with many automakers to offer an Android-based operating system (OS) to crate the next big thing – a software-defined vehicle (SDV). Before that all happens, Google has made the smart move of offering an open-source infotainment platform, giving automakers the ability to pick-and-choose what Google apps and services they want to add to their own infotainment platform.

"We're really offering choice for OEM developers and drivers…Our goal is to really help [automakers] and consumers to make sure that they can build out the right product for their customer." - Haris Ramic, director of product management at Android Auto

Genius, no? Why force automakers to commit to just one provider when they can choose the apps that fit their image best? Thanks to the new Android Auto, Android Auto, Google's open-source development toolkit, automakers can integrate third-party products like Zoom and Prime Video (Amazon). With the new open-source platform, and especially for cars with built-in Google applications, consumers will have access to WebEx, the Weather Channel, and the Vivaldi web browser. We can already see how the new platform is benefiting other automakers who may not have a partnership with certain third-parties. Google Play, included in Google's built-in suite of apps, can offer Prime Video in select Renault, Polestar, and Volvo cars, despite the company mainly working with Stellantis at the moment.

These integrations by Google are similar to the upgrades many other companies have announced recently. Mercedes-Benz and the Volkswagen Group have discussed the integration of third-party video apps, such as Zoom and TikTok into their infotainment systems. Tesla Inc. announced an over-the-air software update to add Zoom back in December 2022. With Google, even if there isn’t a direct partnership, consumers can still access apps like Zoom with audio-only capability. As automakers become more sophisticated and design cars that are more high-tech, shaking hands with startups and large corporations help make these new futuristic concepts a reality.

Utilizing the Android Automotive software development kit gives automakers an edge in a larger battle of keeping consumers connected. Consumers being able to bring their digital life to their car has been an ever-increasing trend for the automotive industry for the better part of a decade. It all started with connecting their mobile phone via Bluetooth to listen to their favorite music, and from there it grew into streaming music and shows with a Wi-Fi hotspot and company-oriented software like the Amazon Alexa smart speaker or Amazon FireTV. Now, we have infotainment systems and apps like Uconnect 5, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay made to completely mirror a consumer’s smartphone home screen.

Just like the options automakers are offering consumers with the ability to download the apps they want to add to their driver experience, those very same automakers can pick the apps they think will enrich their upcoming models. It’s all thanks to Google and its open-source infotainment platform. This is just a taste of what an OS in a car can do.

Want to keep up to date with all the new and cool tech coming to the auto industry? Follow along with us on NowCar social media.

Photo Source/Copyright: Google