2016-Chevy-Malibu-Android-Auto-AH-00304

The Open Automotive Alliance Welcomes Mercedes-Benz

April 19, 2016 - Written By Mihai Matei

Android Auto was announced in the summer of 2014 as Google’s way of introducing the Android platform to the automotive market. However, Google was not alone in its efforts, and earlier in 2014 numerous car manufacturers have partnered up with Google to form the Open Automotive Alliance and kickstart the project. Since then, a number of car makers have joined the Open Automotive Alliance, yet certain car manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz and BMW, have been reluctant to do so. Fortunately for fans of Mercedes-Benz, the German car maker seems to have finally decided to join the Open Automotive Alliance, which means that the company’s future models could have Android Auto onboard.

Ever since the Open Automotive Alliance was formed, both Mercedes-Benz and BMW have refused Google’s proposal to join the OAA because of privacy concerns. Apparently the two German carmakers were unhappy with the fact that Google requests too much information regarding vehicle owners. However, Mercedes-Benz now seems to have changed its opinion on the matter, as the aforementioned carmaker is the newest member of the Open Automotive Alliance. In theory, this means that Mercedes-Benz models coming in 2017 – 2018 should have Android Auto integration.

The first car to adopt Android Auto was the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, which was launched in June 2015. Since then, more carmakers have joined the Open Automotive Alliance, including Ford, Kia, Honda, Lincoln, and Chrysler just to name a few. Android Auto was also brought to consumers through aftermarket infotainment units manufactured by a wide range of world-renowned consumer electronics companies, including Kenwood, Pioneer, JVC, and Harman. In any case, now that Mercedes-Benz has finally joined the OAA, it remains to be seen if its biggest and closest rival – BMW – will do the same anytime soon. Last month BMW has announced that it will bring Android app integration to its future models including the 2016 BMW 7 series, but this is far from introducing Android Auto. App integration allows users to stream music from their Android phones and control playback through the car’s infotainment system without touching the smartphone, so it’s definitely a welcomed addition but not quite in line with Google’s original vision.