Google Android OS To Drive Upcoming Audi And Volvo Infotainment Systems And Butt Warmers

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How would you like it if Android was behind the operating system powering your instrument cluster and the display screen mounted in the center of your dashboard? No, we’re not talking about the Android Auto intermediary that is being supported by more and more auto manufacturers, but the full-blown Android operating system.

Google is set to unveil such an endeavor this week at Google I/O. According to the Bloomberg, Google’s efforts would put it in direct head-to-head combat with BlackBerry’s QNX operating system, which is found in over 50 million cars traveling the world’s roads.

But whereas the Android Auto interface in effect runs on your smartphone and is projected onto your vehicle’s display screen, this more vehicle-centric version of Android will be able to further tap into your vehicle’s control systems. The operating system would display things like vehicle speed, engine speed and system status’ through the instrument cluster, and interface with seat, calling, audio and temperature controls. Functionality that is already available with Android Auto will also be included, like Google Maps (with the added ability to display 3D mapping and satellite imagery) and app integration.

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It’s also said that this version of Android will have full support for the Google Assistant, which is called up using a button on the steering wheel. The Google Assistant tie-in could possibly lead to being able to access your smart home (via Google Home) to perform certain actions automatically as you leave or approach your home.

A preview version of this new version of Android was previewed on a Volvo, and Audi is also signing on as a launch partner for the new operating system. In fact, both the upcoming Volvo V90 station wagon and the upcoming Audi Q8 crossover will be on hand at Google I/O to showcase the technology.

Google is making it clear that even though it’s working on this more tightly-interwoven Android operating system, it’s not abandoning the push to integrate Android Auto into more vehicle. In fact, the company is already working to integrated the Google Assistant into Android Auto.

"Where cars are going, everything is integrated into one display," said Patrick Brady, VP of Engineering for Android. "We think the future is a much more seamless, integrated system."