One of the bigger concerns with Android Auto is the safety of it, and how it could distract drivers. Hyundai was really the only one to show off Android Auto at the NAIAS last month (and again at the Chicago Auto Show this month). And Hyundai isn’t even completely done developing it just yet. For one, they are waiting on Google, but two, their engineers want to be 100% sure that it’s reliable and safe. And I honestly can’t say I blame them. This probably goes for the other car makers as well. At Hyundai’s Technical plant here in Ypsilanti, MI, they are working hard on Android Auto and testing it in the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata, which I got some hands on time with last month. Engineers want to be sure it’s completely safe. As they don’t want to be responsible for any deaths, and I’m sure Google is thinking the same way.
So Android Auto is not available yet, and that’s probably a good thing. As much as we want to have Android Auto in our cars, yesterday, these things are going to take time, and much more time than Android TV or Android Wear. In fact, Apple’s Carplay isn’t even complete. I did get hands on with that at NAIAS last month, and it wasn’t all that good. Apple Maps derped out hard-core, which was amazing, actually.
With Android Auto, we have to remember that patience is key, and to be patient with it becoming available. We have already seen a ton of demos, probably more than we care about. So we know it’s coming and it should be available later this year. Now one could argue that it is already pretty safe since the UI is the same on every car. So you’ll be able to use it without looking at it (plus many of the cars with it built in have buttons on the steering wheel), but Google needs to go that extra step with Android Auto. And so does Apple with Carplay.