Automaker Hyundai has won the race to become the first manufacturer to offer onboard Google Android systems. The South Korean company is all set to provide buyers with the choice of adding the system as an optional extra on its 2015 collection of Sonata saloons.
The device will give drivers the means of connecting android phones to their vehicles and accessing their touchscreens via the car’s dashboard or tapping into Google Maps with voice commands. People buying new Sonatas will be able to ask their dealerships to download the free system before they drive away from showroom forecourts.
Google announced that it was developing prototype vehicle android systems last year. A spokesperson said the technology giant was collaborating with carmakers that included Honda, Hyundai and Audi on building dashboards which would support android connectivity and usage.
The spokesperson continued by saying the android option would be available in 28 vehicle marques by the time the 2016 models hit the showrooms. A Hyundai statement says Android Auto locks the driver’s smartphone screen and all interaction is via the onboard system.
It added that Android Auto was safer as it did away with the temptation of glancing at the smartphone’s screen at incoming texts or social media messages. At Euromonitor, a market research company, analyst Wee Teck Loo says the technology will be a boon to automakers building cheaper models.
The analyst said it would enable the manufacturer to offer a vehicle in each range without a media player. Instead, the dashboard would be fitted with a USB port and a smartphone dock. He finished off by saying the savings would be passed on to buyers and they would pay slightly less for a new car, yet reap the latest technological benefits.