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Google Drives Open Auto Alliance for In-Car Tech
Google Drives Open Auto Alliance for In-Car Tech

By Jennifer LeClaire
January 6, 2014 10:55AM

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The Open Automotive Alliance is interesting because it’s essentially Google and a bunch of automakers, including Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai plus Nvidia, a chipmaker. Adding a tier one supplier like Delphi or Continental as well as middleware players to the mix with Google and the auto manufacturers might make the alliance more successful.

As expected, Google on Monday announced plans to drive deeper into the automotive industry with an alliance that could disrupt the status quo in the infotainment realm. The company is partnering with Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai, and Nvidia to drive in-car technology innovations to the next level.

Patrick Brady, director of Android Engineering, for Google, explained the company’s thought process in a blog post. In this multi-screen world, he said, switching between our different devices should be easy and seamless.

“Common platforms allow for one connected experience across our phone, tablet and PC, so we get the right information at the right time, no matter what device we’re using,” Brady said. “But there’s still an important device that isn’t yet connected as seamlessly to the other screens in our lives -- the car.”

Minding the Gap

Google’s new partnerships with some of the world’s largest automakers aims to address that gap. The alliance will essentially bring Android, the world’s largest open platform, to the open road through the Open Automotive Alliance, a global alliance aimed at accelerating auto innovation with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale.

“Today, millions of people already bring Android phones and tablets into their cars, but it’s not yet a driving-optimized experience,” Brady said. “Wouldn't it be great if you could bring your favorite apps and music with you, and use them safely with your car's built-in controls and in-dash display?”

Google is working with its alliance partners to make possible new forms of integration with Android devices, and adapting Android for the car to make driving safer, easier and more enjoyable for everyone. As Google sees it, putting Android in the car will bring drivers apps and services they already use, while enabling automakers to more easily deliver cutting-edge technology to their customers. Brady also said it would create opportunities for developers to extend the variety and depth of the Android app ecosystem in new ways.

Google’s Show

We caught up with Mark Boyadjis, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive, to get his thoughts on the alliance. He told us the Open Automotive Alliance is interesting because it’s essentially Google and a bunch of automakers, plus a chipmaker. He’d like to see a tier one supplier like Delphi or Continental get on board, as well as middleware players.

“Obviously Microsoft is not going to join this alliance but middleware players that have applications or frameworks could play a role. Android has some middleware as it is but I think the idea is best suited to get as many players involved as possible. Then I think it would be successful,” Boyadjis said.

“I think it’s a show that Google is putting investment into the automotive space. They are trying to become more automotive while all the auto companies have tried to become more electronic," he added.

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