Google Inc.’s automotive infotainment platform could be available in most, if not all, new vehicles in the coming years.
Andrew Brenner, Google’s Android Auto product manager, said more than 20 automotive brands are expected to have at least one vehicle available with the tech giant’s operating system by the end of the year, with many more to come.
“We’ve launched and we’re currently shipping with over 10 car brands in aftermarket head units and we have at least 15 others committed to shipping with us in 2016,” he said Wednesday during the 2016 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.
The vehicles follow Google partnering with more than 60 automotive brands for its Open Automotive Alliance. As the brands release refreshed and all-new products into the market place, many are building Android Auto into their vehicles.
The 2016 North American International Auto Show was a testament to that, with several automakers touting that their vehicles are equipped with Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay, which is Apple Inc.’s vehicle-smartphone interface for the iPhone.
Vehicles with one or both of the systems unveiled at the Detroit auto show this week include the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, Lincoln Continental, Ford Fusion lineup and many, if not most, others. Several automakers, including the Detroit companies, have pledged it will be on most, if not all, of their vehicles in the coming years.
Ford Motor Co. announced earlier this month that it would add Android Auto and CarPlay to its 2017 model-year vehicles, starting with the Escape. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it would add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on select models in 2016 as it launches its fourth-generation UConnect infotainment system. General Motors Co. first offered it on 2016 Chevrolets.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connect a user’s iPhone or Android phone to the car to make calls, navigation, music and other applications easy. When connected, the car’s dashboard screen will mimic the phone’s.
“I think Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are going to proliferate,” said Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Akshay Anand. “Consumers want it. These are the systems they are used to; there’s more seamless transition.”
The systems allow for easier, quicker updates than an automaker’s traditional, in-vehicle infotainment system because of the ease to update a smartphone compared to the systems.
In the short term, Brenner said the company will continue to develop and grow its app store. In the long term, he hopes the Android software and phones could better work with the entire car itself to unlock doors, set personal settings and other features.
“Google wants to work with all of you in the auto industry and with app developers for the long-term to help us build better products and to make your and our customers happier, more productive and more safe when they drive,” he said.
Working with the automakers echoes comments made by numerous industry leaders, including Google Self-Driving Car Project CEO John Krafcik.
“Automakers have the talent and the track record of producing cars at scale,” he said Tuesday during the Automotive News World Congress.
The self-driving car and Android Auto work separately form one another, but Brenner said the two could start working more collaboratively down the road.
“(We) certainly have similar goals to make the world better through technology,” he said.
Google has more than 500 auto-enabled apps that continue to grow, with about 10 to 30 every week, Brenner said.
Android Auto compatible vehicles and stereos are currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.