Google has joined Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia to bring Android on to our roads.
On Monday, Google's Android Engineering head Patrick Brady announced the creation of the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), a global alliance aimed at "accelerating auto innovation with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale."
While many of us own Android-based mobile devices, Google sees a world where the operating system is optimized for driving -- offering drivers apps and music through a car's interactive dashboard. As an example, your music playlist could be sychronized across your tablet, PC and car, or driving-based apps including weather and traffic reports in live time could make your journeys quicker and safer.
"Partnering with Google and the OAA on an ecosystem that spans across vehicles and handheld mobile devices furthers our mission to bring vehicles into our owners digital lives and their digital lives into their vehicles," said Mary Chan, President of General Motors' Global Connected Consumer unit. "We see huge opportunities for the Android platform paired with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles."
The selection of Android as an open-source platform for use by vehicle manufacturers and software developers makes sense. Android is the most popular mobile operating system worldwide, and while Apple's rival iOS system could also work, the iPad and iPhone maker will not release the source code to other companies -- making integration within vehicles more difficult and costly.
"The car is the ultimate mobile computer. With onboard supercomputing chips, futuristic cars of our dreams will no longer be science fiction," said Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia. "The OAA will enable the car industry to bring these amazing cars to market faster."
Other automotive firms have been invited to join the alliance, and Google expects the first Android-laden cars to appear on our streets by the end of the year.