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Google Android Open Source Transportation

Google Launches Android Automotive Consortium 117

Posted by samzenpus
from the search-and-drive dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Google announced an initiative with Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai, and Nvidia aimed at fostering and standardizing Android in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. The Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) is dedicated to a common platform that will drive innovation, and make technology in the car safer and more intuitive for everyone, says the group. The OAA is further committed to bringing the Android platform to cars starting in 2014. In its FAQ, the OAA suggests that this is not a full-blown Android in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system, but rather a standardized integration stack between automotive systems and mobile Android devices. However, the OAA FAQ also discloses broader ambitions for 2015 and beyond: 'We're also developing new Android platform features that will enable the car itself to become a connected Android device.'"
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Google Launches Android Automotive Consortium

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  • Naturally (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Google wants Android in the dash of cars so they can track you. "Hey, you just passed one of our ... um, I mean, you just passed a Carl's Jr. - aren't you hungry?"

    I guess self driving cars aren't enough for Google. They want to be in the driver's seat of dashboard technology too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Normally, we call a product "vaporware" before there is one single independent test of it.

      For some reason, with Google self-driving cars, we assume they deliver up to claimed spec. We cite the statistic about fewer accidents than with human drivers, even though conditions were chosen by Google, expert human back-ups were available throughout who were dedicated to the job of ensuring a car is driven safely, and there was zero review of the evidence used to make the claims.

      The Google robot car, for anyone rem

      • by rasmusbr (2186518)

        I think that is mostly just another example of the sad state of science reporting in the media. There aren't enough journalists on large mainstream media payrolls who know how to ask the right questions, like questions about numbers and statistics.

        According to Google they had driven 0.005 billion kilometers by 2012, and since the US has about 9 fatalities per billion vehicle kilometers you can do the math yourself. Google was nowhere near in 2012 to having driven enough distance to be able to make any claim

      • by kaiser423 (828989)
        No, we call it vaporware where there isn't a single implementation of it or just one in a lab. We call things alpha or beta when there's been a couple of implementations and then things beta or stable when there are independent reviews confirming the meeting of general requirements.

        Anyone who's driven the 101 has seen the Google self driving cars operating remotely, and there are a number of articles about blind people going out and getting take out by themselves in the car, as well as a number of repor
    • by cjjjer (530715)
      Actually I could see it benefiting it's autonomous vehicles greatly, with Google tech in all of our cars it could detect traffic flow more easily giving the autonomous vehicles that deliver or do repetitious driving an edge.
  • by sootman (158191) on Monday January 06, 2014 @01:23PM (#45880023) Homepage Journal

    Think of the kind of computer or phone you had 5 or 10 years ago. Do you want a 5-10 year old device hard-wired into your car 5-10 years from now?

    And no matter how "open" Google tries to make things, vehicle OEMs are just as bad as handset OEMs and cellular carriers and they WILL make these things suck. I know a guy who has a $100 windshield-mount GPS in his GPS-equipped car because he didn't want to pay the dealer $hundreds to update the maps in his built-in unit. So now he has a device on his windshield with a dangling cord and some dead space in his dash.

    • by immaterial (1520413) on Monday January 06, 2014 @01:40PM (#45880181)
      I want knobs. Knobs and physical buttons. Let them surround a fancy whizz-bang touchscreen if you want, but I damn well want to be able to turn up the heat or volume without looking.
      • by CdBee (742846)
        ideally that touchscreen & those knobs in the dash should accept inputs from external devices and be able to communicate back with them, then the inbuilt software in the vehicle can be worked-round if obsolete
      • by rsborg (111459)

        I want knobs. Knobs and physical buttons. Let them surround a fancy whizz-bang touchscreen if you want, but I damn well want to be able to turn up the heat or volume without looking.

        That's what on-wheel controls are for. I've driven a car with touchscreen inputs for quite some time (2005 Prius), and I've never ever had issues (and neither have my parents) in using the car interface even while driving.

        The key to usability is, as you say, an appropriate set of on-wheel controls, and knobs/buttons for the key non-wheel controls (i.e., audio interface has both touchscreen and knob/button interface) where appropriate (i.e., high traffic controls) and the touch interface for the non-key, com

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday January 06, 2014 @01:41PM (#45880187) Homepage

      Yup, I definitely agree with this.

      My wife's last car had in-dash GPS. Unfortunately, when we asked about getting an update to the maps, it would have cost about $900 for the new DVD.

      When you can replace the damned thing for less than $150 for a dedicated unit, what's the point in having it?

      By the time you get technology in a car, it's 5 years old ... and by the time the car is 5 years old, the in-dash technology is usually so outdated as to be useless.

      The auto-makers are all scrambling to get this stuff into their cars because it's the new hotness. But by the time they've built and deployed it, it's old and busted. You end up paying several times what you could buy a device for at any electronics store, for a device which is mostly obsolete by the time you even have it.

      My 6 year old Tom Tom, I still get map updates for.

      And, really, as people are slowly learning that distracted driving is really dangerous, adding all of these "in-vehicle-infotainment" is just more crap and distraction. You want to entertain your kids in your car? Buy 'em a $200 tablet.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        By the time you get technology in a car, it's 5 years old ... and by the time the car is 5 years old, the in-dash technology is usually so outdated as to be useless.

         

        Seriously, I have a Model Year 2001 BMW 3-series that has a freakin' *cassette deck* in it. That was the upgraded stereo option

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        This is why you don't want in-dash Android, you want Mirror-Link. It mirrors your phone's screen on to the in-dash screen, complete with touch control. It can work wirelessly to. Your phone has internet access for live maps and traffic data, as will as streaming audio and the like.

        Also, these head units boot very fast. I don't want to wait 30 seconds after starting the car. The radio is separate too so you can operate it without disturbing the Android apps.

        I am building this set up for my car at the moment.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only company that can actually get automotive companies to actually agree and do something "right" is Apple. If Apple put a 1-2 DIN audio head, they would push out the half-hearted attempts by vehicle makers and after market companies (Alpine, Sony) just like Apple seized the MP3 player market by storm.

      Apple would make a killing if they went into the automotive audio market. Standardizing the car interface, offering streaming, XM radio, AM/FM radio, and even apps so one can start the vehicle from remo

      • by msauve (701917) on Monday January 06, 2014 @02:49PM (#45880851)
        So, the solution is "one size fits all," or maybe "our way, or not the highway." I'm not buying it.
      • by CdBee (742846)
        A standard interface would be nice too

        I have 2 windscreen mounts in my car - one for satnav as and when needed, the other for my android phone. The car's a 2001 Volvo V40 XS (cheapest version) without a car computer but with a full OBD-2 compliant interface - a bluetooth adapter lets me use my phone to give a constant readout of speed, RPM, engine temperature and spot fuel efficiency

        If OBD could be extended so as to allow media/entertainment and car climate control over OBD we could forget standardise
      • by epyT-R (613989)

        Yeah, I'll pass. The last thing I want is my car audio usurped by a company that overcharges for useless handholding. I like the fact I can dump a bunch of mp3s onto a flash drive and plug it into my aftermarket stereo with no fuss. Apple tries too hard to manage everything with itunes/ipods/iphones and just ends up getting in the way.

      • by Jakeula (1427201)
        I guess I shouldn't expect anyone on /. to RTFA, especially an AC, but Apple already is doing this with all the same auto makers and some others called iOSitC. Outside of the difficult to remember name of Apples group, I personally don't want Apple Maps guiding me around any town. Also, how will Android fragment the IVI? this isn't like a phone OS, IVI's don't leap to the latest hardware every few months. All you require is something like Spotify/Pandora for music, general peripheral connectors like AUX, US
      • by sjames (1099)

        I don't want a proprietary patented up the wazoo lightning connector that refuses to work with anything but genuine Apple products in my car.

        Actually open and standard connectors would be nice.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Do you want a 5-10 year old device hard-wired into your car 5-10 years from now?

      The plan is you wont have that car 5-10 years. 1 or 2 year trade-ups, perhaps with a subsidy to keep you on contract... BYOC will be frowned upon.

      Joking aside i do remember a time when many people would simply trade up every year or so, and once the car was not new, the dealers really could have cared less.

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday January 06, 2014 @02:03PM (#45880433) Homepage

        Joking aside i do remember a time when many people would simply trade up every year or so, and once the car was not new, the dealers really could have cared less.

        Now there's an understatement -- the dealers were ecstatic to have people doing that.

        You buy a new car, and it massively depreciates as you drive it off the lot. Then two years later you come in, provide them with new inventory to sell, and then sell you another car at full price.

        For car dealers, that's pretty much the pipe-dream. Because you're essentially paying over and over again.

        I've known people who traded in a car every 1-2 years -- and I've mostly been of the opinion they're subsidizing the dealers at their own expense.

        I've always referred to the depreciation of a new car and buying another one before you've amortized the first as a "stupidity tax". Unless you're so well off you can afford to be giving up that much on depreciation and not care, you're probably getting screwed in the long run.

        • by s122604 (1018036) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:48PM (#45881493)
          The main reason people get new cars less frequently is that cars are a lot better than they used to be. It used to be getting a car to 100k miles without major engine work was a rare occurrence. Now, the automotive consumer gets pissed if that doesn't happen.

          I know that flies in the face of the "everything was better when I was young" old-man logic, but it's still a fact.

          The industry is looking for reasons to get customers into the showrooms on a faster cycle, hence the heavy focus on enhancements like this

          It also kinda explains why making the product easily upgradable isn't a big concern.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            The main reason people get new cars less frequently is that cars are a lot better than they used to be. It used to be getting a car to 100k miles without major engine work was a rare occurrence. Now, the automotive consumer gets pissed if that doesn't happen.

            For which you can thank the Japanese for actually producing cars which weren't pieces of shit, and forcing the American manufacturers to compete on quality.

            There were a lot of years where Detroit put out absolutely crap cars, and expected people to buy

            • by s122604 (1018036)
              At this point: the quality improvements made over time, to the automotive fleet as a whole, dwarf any deltas between brands from a given year.

              Also, the supply chain has been so homogenized at this point that underlying components are nearly identical.
              Their ad men work really hard to convince you otherwise, but if you really think brand X is going to sell you a 25 thousand dollar car that will burst into flames months after you drive it off the lot, while brand Y, for the same amount of money, can build y
            • "For which you can thank the Japanese for actually producing cars which weren't pieces of shit, and forcing the American manufacturers to compete on quality."

              Here in Europe the same thing as happened. I have an acquaintance who works at Renault (in Portugal), and he told me the very same thing as the GP.

              Quality has gone up dramatically, and they actually have to use error measures in much higher magnitudes, because the competition in terms of failure rate is now cut-throat.

              I think it's just because of progr

          • by epyT-R (613989)

            Well, I will say that today's cars are more prone to needing expensive maintenance because of all the customized electronics and optimized-to-the-edge mechanical tolerances. This isn't good either. There's something to be said for driving an older car whose engine just needs a new set of points and plugs every so often and it's good to go. The rest of it's too simple to fail intractably. Sure, technically it needs more maintenance, but that maintenance is predictable and well understood. A lot of it ca

    • Think of the kind of computer or phone you had 5 or 10 years ago. Do you want a 5-10 year old device hard-wired into your car 5-10 years from now?

      This is a primarily US site. Most people here don't expect their cars to last that long.

  • Creating a standard interface that only easily (and fully supports) the connection of Android-based devices. Frankly, I'm shocked Apple didn't already make this move. If this happens (and spreads), the only devices you'll want to hook up to your car will be Android-based since those will probably be the only ones you can interact with using steering wheel controls, etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Creating a standard interface that only easily (and fully supports) the connection of Android-based devices. Frankly, I'm shocked Apple didn't already make this move. If this happens (and spreads), the only devices you'll want to hook up to your car will be Android-based since those will probably be the only ones you can interact with using steering wheel controls, etc.

      They already have
      http://screwtapefiles.blogspot.com/2013/09/apple-is-looking-interesting-again.html

  • by jpmahala (181937) on Monday January 06, 2014 @01:25PM (#45880051)

    "...enable the car itself to become a connected Android device."

    hmm. It's one thing for me to carry an android device around in my pocket. It's quite another to have an android carry me around in it's pocket.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just imagine: instead of ACPI and driver issues, we can have life threatening kernel panics!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apple beat them to the punch
    http://screwtapefiles.blogspot.com/2013/09/apple-is-looking-interesting-again.html

  • by sinij (911942) on Monday January 06, 2014 @01:42PM (#45880201) Journal
    >>> "We're also developing new Android platform features that will enable the car itself to become a connected Android device"

    I prefer my cars air-gaped. Why? First, I don't trust automotive manufacturers to introduce adequate security measures. Second, I don't trust automotive manufacturers to stay on top of patching security holes over car's expected useful lifetime.
    • by mlts (1038732)

      The less on the CANBUS the better. Even if someone couldn't seize control of a device, but force it to crash, that would be a coup for carjackers.

      Automakers have a lot of economic disinterest in adequate security measures:

      1: Once the vehicle is purchased, aftermarket updates are a cost center.

      2: They don't want updates; they need to sell new cars, not just prolong the device life of older vehicles.

      3: They rely on security through obscurity too often, and when this breaks, it can be a bonanza for thieves

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        Automakers have a lot of economic disinterest in adequate security measures:

        1: Once the vehicle is purchased, aftermarket updates are a cost center.

        Not as big of a cost center as warranty fixes and recalls are... Just make sure enough vulnerability testing gets done in the first 3 years/36,000 miles!

      • by graphius (907855)

        The less on the CANBUS the better.

        I thought it was legal in a few states now, or does it fall under DUI laws?

    • Exactly. Give me a secure dock for a Nexus device and call it a day. Auto manufacturers may be the only bunch worse than carriers at updating OS and software elements. I got a Nexus 7 (1st gen) with the express intention of hack-retrofitting a pogo pin dock into the dash and being able to remove the most expensive part and take it with me when I leave the vehicle. It's replaceable, upgrade-able, and has no retarded app availability issues, and comes without the ridiculous price premium. Installed media widg
  • I don't need or want a intelligent components when inexpensive, simple, proven and reliable mechanical components have done fine for decades.

    Just because you can isn't always a valid reason.

  • I don't know how many of you it bugged, but it bugged me that the different auto manufacturers were developing their own devices. All that non standardized nonsense would have actually not want to buy one of those vehicles with integrated tablets.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      This is normal practice and has been since the beginning of electronic components in cars. What company wants to share its secrets with others?

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        This isn't so much about 'secrets' as 'consumer lock-in'.

        The car companies have just been doing it longer than the software companies.

  • FORCE AT GUNPOINT the following...

    1 Easy to use UI for automotive cases. Big fleshy sausage sized buttons on screen, and a default User hard button or communications interface to steering wheel hard buttons.

    On screen volume controls are an epic fail, they MUST be physical buttons.

    Next, put in place priority levels for apps. I need the radio to have top priority, then navigation, then other stuff. Happy fun app should never be able to override my navigation and cause the unit to lock up due to a bad

  • by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Monday January 06, 2014 @02:08PM (#45880503)
    Well, if you needed proof of a higher power then here it is. Standard operating systems in cars are long overdue.
  • Smartphones and tables are getting this powerfull that it makes much more sense to have a charging station + screen mirroring for your phone.

    Those solutions already exist: http://www.customgadz.com/store/ [customgadz.com]

    Wouldnt that make life a lot easier?

    • by cesman (74566)

      I completely agree.

      Automakers, why waste time, effort and money re-engineering around Android and other OSs? With regards to navigation and other functionality (listening to podcasts, streaming music), my Nexus 4 gives me all I need. What I need, is a car that supports the needed Bluetooth profiles, a screen mirror and a good "car mode" app or launcher.

      • I completely agree.

        Automakers, why waste time, effort and money re-engineering around Android and other OSs?

        Humans frequently focus on a single interval of time, but these do not exist in reality. Sometimes a technology will have several milestones or prerequisites prior to adoption; Some along the path are more useful than others, but the aim is to provide at least some usefulness at each juncture. Allow me to expand your mind briefly by increasing your mental interval of consideration: Self Driving Cars.

  • by Billy the Mountain (225541) on Monday January 06, 2014 @02:43PM (#45880799) Journal
    "I can't come in to work today because my car has a virus" becomes a legitimate excuse.
  • The simple solution seems to be mirroring the device onto the car's dash-mounted display and accepting remote touch from the dash display, and, ideally, some kind of button protocol to standardize button interactions.

    Presumably you'd want to develop some kind of car-specific mirroring protocol so it would be device agnostic, but that would require device makers to include and support it, although as long as it was a superset of their own mirroring protocols it probably wouldn't be that hard for them to supp

  • How about car manufacturers provide an option for NO computer in the car? My newest vehicle is a 1998 Volvo S70, but if I were to buy a new car I would be attracted to a NO COMPUTER option and a $2000 savings. I really have not used GPS or a smartphone in my car ever and I want to keep it that way. If I really wanted a computer in my car, I would much more appreciate an interface such as OBDII (OBDIII?) that expanded access and control to things like climate control and audio system. I could then choose my
  • ...would be a nice start.

    I'd be happy if they could get kenwood, alpine, and other aftermarket head unit manufacturers on board. But these guys hate open systems. Friggin' pioneer wants around $300+ just for a navigation add on, last I checked.

  • Some people talk about automotive technology turn over time frames being 10 years and the electronic industry technology turn over period being 18 months to be the fundamental reason for automobile infotainment systems sucking big time. Add to it corporations thinking, "they bought our car, now we will make handsome profits by making them pay through their nose for map updates and this and that". But root cause of the problem is even more fundamental than this.

    Basically automotive engineers, especially the

  • Does that mean we can now swipe left ?
  • Tizen already does it for some time. There were already a number of Tizen release - for IVI.

    I think Google has recently read a press release about Tizen on mobiles. They have looked it up and found out that it is already available and used in IVI market for few years now.

    Or, the claimed "Android App compatibility" Tizen 3.0 feature might have gotten them worrying. So they have decided to jump on it before it gets too big.

  • Can't wait for non-upgradeable Android in cars as well. "But sir, your car is more than 18 months old, so we don't support it anymore. Buy a new car."

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