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The world’s top-selling automaker, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, has decided to join forces with Google, calling on the tech giant to incorporate its Android operating system (OS) in their dashboard infotainment systems. The significant change won’t take effect until 2021, which means that potential buyers will have to wait to get integrated features such as Google Maps, Waze, and the hands-free Google Assistant, without connecting to a phone-like interface. Additionally, access to the Google Play Store will also be a feature so that consumers can download auto-specific apps for their convenience.
Until recently, automakers have been developing their own software for their infotainment systems, and the Alliance is the first automaker that seems to have definitively chosen the path of the future - going with an established company that’s familiar to consumers is a genius move! Automakers tend to stay away from partnering with tech companies because they don’t want to let tech companies in on the data that will be collected by the infotainment system. This data is considered to be highly valuable and is often used by automakers to develop new revenue streams. It was confirmed that Google would have access to the information collected by its car-apps, but only with the initial consent from the user, and the opportunity for owners to opt out entirely as well. For the time being, most automakers allow users to link their Apple or Android-based phones to their car systems via the mirroring systems of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The future of infotainment systems powered by an Android-based OS will allow cars to receive software updates consistently, so maps are always as accurate as possible, and the Google Assistant voice command will be deeply integrated to power several car functions such as activating the windshield wipers. Since operating software can be continuously updated (much like our phones now), it’s likely that the system will be able to handle vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure once it becomes available.
A huge perk of having an infotainment-system with an Android-based OS is that the infotainment system won’t necessarily become obsolete after a few years of owning the car because of its continuous updates. This momentous leap from the Alliance also opens vehicles to a universe of app developers, who are likely to innovate features that haven’t been thought of yet. Google already has meticulous plans to vet any app multiple times before it becomes available for download to be sure it can be safely used in a car - the entire point of car-oriented apps is that they must be convenient and minimize distractions while driving.
In the meantime, the Alliance will maintain the current infotainment systems in each of their brands as the partnership with Google is worked out and implemented. The mutually beneficial decision will see Google’s operating system enter the car market in one of the world’s top three automakers. With over 10.6 million vehicles sold by the Alliance last year, and a predicted 14 million cars by 2022, this joint partnership makes for an impressive reach for the tech giant. The Alliance will benefit from the ability to effortlessly connect its cars to an online “cloud-based system” to easily diagnose car problems and update software remotely.
We’ve still got a long way to go until 2021, but remember that NowCar offers you the convenience to search or even build whatever vehicle you desire. With the many technological upgrades that cars have experienced within the past few years, it’s unlikely that you won’t find a very capable and borderline futuristic car. Plus, with the ability to search from the comfort of your own home or office and NowCar’s free delivery to anywhere within the continental U.S., you’ll have no reason to set foot in a dealership again.
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