Google’s phone-free Android Auto system could be in your next car

google wants to install android directly into cars auto 2
Following Apple’s lead with its planned CarPlay infotainment system, which optimizes a compatible console unit for the iPhone OS, Google already has something similar in the works debuting in 2015 called Android Auto.

The current software requires connection to an Android-powered phone to be connected to the car, but according to Reuters, Google wants to take things even further. The company plans to offer automakers the opportunity to install an upcoming version of the Android software directly into the car’s infotainment unit, becoming the standard operating interface.

android auto

The direct integration would mean that it would operate phone free, allowing drivers to access internet functions like navigation and other apps without the need to pair a mobile device. Cutting out the middleman sounds like a smart move, but it won’t be without concern.

At the moment, CarPlay and Android Auto work on top of an auto manufacturer’s infotainment operating system, something they painstakingly develop in-house. They do so to provide a unique experience to its customers so that the BMW iDrive is different from Ford’s Sync, for example, so car companies might not be to keen shedding an element of their brand appeal.

The other concerns are safety and liability. Google is nigh-omnipresent in our lives, and handing over access to data where they can log your locations, fuel levels and speeds would raise more than a few concerns. At best, a company’s bottom line could be affected by consumers weary of such data collection. At worst, it’s a pandora’s box of how the data could be used in legal situations.

Both Apple and Google’s in-car systems have yet to even fully roll out, so this may be a case of putting the cart before the horse, but we’ll see how things play out in the future.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Insect drones and kinetic sculpture robots

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport uses cameras to spot off-road obstacles

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport gets a host of new tech features, including a camera system that shows what's underneath the car. It also gets a mild-hybrid powertrain to improve gas mileage.

Here's our first look at the Galaxy Note 10's centered selfie camera

The Samsung Galaxy S10 range was only just revealed, but Samsung is already working on the next big release. Not much is known about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 just yet, but we do have a few details.

GM thinks up new electronic brain for its cars, allowing over-the-air updates

General Motors is launching a new electrical architecture to support more tech features in its cars. The system debuts on the 2020 Cadillac CT5, and will roll out to most other GM models by 2023.

From supported games to the beta, here's what we know about Microsoft xCloud

Microsoft xCloud or Project xCloud is the company's upcoming game-streaming service, and it will work on everything from consoles to phones. Here's everything we know about Microsoft xCloud.

Semi-autonomous and always available: A peek into the near future of car rental

Soon we will see connected rental fleets with a dedicated lane at airports for self-driving cars, where drivers control the car to the airport, and then the empty car drives itself to the rental lot.
Product Review

Want an electric car that doesn't look like an electric car? Meet Audi's E-Tron

The 2019 Audi E-Tron is the German automaker’s first series-production electric car. Rather than make a bold statement with its first electric vehicle, Audi chose to make the E-Tron as much like its other cars as possible.

Walmart slashes prices on electric hybrid bicycles for National Bike Month

Electric bikes can be economical, convenient, and fun. Heading into summer, Walmart slashed the prices for two pedal-assist Hyper E-ride Mountain and City Electric Hybrid Bikes by 40%. We found a variety of e-rides for under $1,000.

Ford aluminum truck beds prove haters wrong, are cheaper to repair than steel

Repair costs were a major concern for truck buyers when Ford launched its aluminum F-150. But insurance data indicates that, if anything, the F-150 may be cheaper to repair than traditional steel trucks.

Mercedes-Benz safety-car concept monitors the road ahead and your kids

The Mercedes-Benz Experimental Safety Vehicle 2019 was designed for a world where humans and machines share driving duties. It can use lights to communicate with other road users and even monitor an infant's vital signs.

GM hits reverse with Maven carsharing as it closes service in eight cities

GM-owned Maven will close its carsharing service in 8 of the 17 North American cities where it currently operates. Competing with the likes of Zipcar and Car2Go, the app-based service offers car rental by the hour or day.

Crisp and connected, the Volkswagen Golf will get a digital reboot in 2020

Volkswagen is putting the final touches on the eighth-generation Golf. The hatchback will still be recognizable as a member of the Golf family, but it will receive a crisper design inside and out.

With Tesla bleeding money, Elon Musk initiates hardcore spending review

After posting a sizable $700 million loss in the first quarter of 2019, Tesla announced it will review every expense, no matter the size, to keep spending in check. Company CEO Elon Musk will personally approve every 10th expense page.

Bosch sensors used in Skywalker’s lightsaber will keep flying taxis in the air

Bosch wants to help companies make flying taxis a reality. Aviation technology is too big and too expensive to power a flying taxi, so the German firm is developing a universal control unit using smaller, cheaper sensors already used in…