This month, when Google hosted a boot camp for its Android operating system, in the room have arrived some new faces. They were actually auto manufacturers. They come especially to learn more about Android Auto, which represents a new dashboard system meant to make a smartphone power a car’s center screen. These new operating systems also feature tasks like communication, navigation or music apps, which are constantly talking to the driver and cloud.
Just a couple of miles down the road, a similar scene is playing out at Apple. The big Apple has developed a rival system, named CarPlay, which is made for iPhone users. After years of being considered an interesting side business, auto is now a huge obsession for Silicon Valley. Google declared that in minimum five years the public will use driverless cars and on the other side, Apple has assigned more than 200 engineers to work on what is said to be an electric vehicle technology.
Until the driverless car will arrive on the market, the battle to develop the next generation of cars’ dashboard systems is on. To be noted that in the coming weeks, all dealerships will begin selling vehicles with running Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or both. Looks like the age of Bluetooth pairing for hands-free call or playing music is over. Google or Apple operating system will take over the center screen of the car and also some specific buttons.
“Consumers have spoken,” declared John Maddox, assistant director of the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center. Here also said that “they expect to have coordination between their phone and their vehicle.”
Android Auto is ready after two years in development, to make its debut in Americans’ cars. The driver will plug in his smartphone with a USB cord and immediately, the system powers up on the car’s screen. In the meantime, the phone’s screen goes dark, not to be touched while driving. Apple’s system, CarPlay, works pretty much the same, featuring bubbly icons for phone calls, maps, music, messaging, while other useful apps will appear on the center screen.
“We don’t want people to have to make a vehicle choice based on which mobile phone they have,” declared Don Butler, Ford’s executive director for connected vehicles and services. “We want to accommodate all customers and their devices,” he also said.