It’s no secret, Google wants everything to be running on Android. Whether that be your refrigerator, your thermostat, or your car. While we already have Android Auto in a number of cars – and coming to your smartphone soon. Google wants to go a bit further. They have taken a Maserati Quattroporte and basically stripped it out and replaced everything with Android. Many of you may not think about what runs the infotainment system in your car, and even the dials and instrument cluster, but that is all powered by processors similar to what is in our smartphones (in fact the 2017 Audi Q7 runs off of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor). And there are a few that run off of Android. In fact, the 2016 Hyundai Genesis uses Android, although it is Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and the 2016 Honda Accord uses Android 4.0. Google has popped in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 into this Maserati Quattroporte and put a 4K display in the center console, along with Android Auto.
This is Android Auto, but taken to the next level. You can tell that Google has taken what they learned with Android Auto and put it into this prototype. Google hasn’t said whether they will actually sell cars like this Maserati Quattroporte to the public. It’s just a prototype for now. Android N is the main computer in the Quattroporte, and it is running the climate controls, the instrument cluster, basically everything in the car is running through Android N. Even all of the sensors for various components of the Quattroporte. Now Quattroporte also has a 4K display in the dashboard, where your dials and instruments would normally be. So you can have turn-by-turn notifications right there in the dashboard, without taking your attention away from the road and onto the display in the center console. Additionally you can have Google Maps right there on the dashboard, which gives you 3D renderings of buildings as well. It’s a pretty neat concept right now, of course it’s nowhere ready for primetime.
Is this what “Android Automotive” is going to be? It’s tough to say right now. Google has all sorts of teams working in the auto industry right now. With Android Auto, the self-driving car project and now this prototype Maserati Quattroporte. Google has mostly been saying that the Quattroporte “isn’t ready yet”. Obviously they are going to have a ton of testing that needs to be done before it can go out onto the road.