Fully baked-in Android Auto support is officially kicking off today with Hyundai’s mainstream Sonata midsize sedan (third-party head units began supporting Android Auto earlier this year). Drivers of 2015 or newer Sonatas can take their vehicles to their nearest dealership to have their existing infotainment system updates to support Android Auto. If you prefer to perform the update yourself rather than step foot into a Hyundai service bay, customers will be able to perform the update on their own later this summer (presumably via a USB stick).
There are a couple of prerequisites, however, before you can take advantage of Android Auto on your Sonata. For starters, the Sonata has to be equipped with both the optional Navigation System and Tech Package. In addition, you will need to own a smartphone that has Android 5.0 Lollipop or later installed. If you own a 2014 or 2015-era smartphone, chances are that you already have Lollipop or it should be arriving soon. However, Lollipop as a whole is still only installed on less than 10 percent of all Android devices.
Android Auto allows your smartphone to interface with a car’s built-in infotainment display screen and provides a central hub for phone calls, sending/receiving text messages, fully functional voice search, and the ability to tap into third-party apps (including popular music streaming services). But perhaps the biggest addition is Google Maps support, which is far, FAR superior to the built-in navigation units in today’s vehicles.
"Android Auto aligns with Hyundai's core interior design principles of safety, intuitiveness and simplicity," said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America CEO. "We launched this highly anticipated feature on our best-selling Sonata, adding to our promise of value."
While the Sonata is the first Hyundai vehicle to receive Android Auto support, it won’t be the last. The South Korean auto manufacturer will expand support to additional 2015 models and will have a much broader rollout with upcoming 2016 models. We also expect that sister company KIA will also jump on the Android Auto bandwagon as well. And just in case you were wondering, Hyundai will also be supporting Apple CarPlay at a later date.
Google is hoping that by integrating the most-used smartphone features into the vehicle and making them easily accessible using voice commands will dissuade people from pulling out their smartphones to text or cycle through music playlists when they should be focused on the road and vehicles ahead. A recent AT&T study has shown that 61 percent of U.S. drivers admit to texting while driving, and over a quarter surf Facebook while behind the wheel.
Anything that will get these idiots to put the phone down is a win in my book!