European automobile manufacturers Audi and Volvo are taking Android Auto a step further with the Audi Q8 Sport and the Volvo XC60. Announced today, these two auto makers will be building Android into their next-generation of vehicles, and they will be showcasing these at Google I/O later this week in Mountain View. Audi, Volvo and of course Google, are hoping that navigation from your smartphone on the big screen will become the norm, rather than the exception. And this new system would allow you to use Spotify, Google Play Music, Google Maps, and other Google services without connecting your smartphone. This is similar to the concept that Google showed off last year at Google I/O with Maserati, where the entire car was running on Android, thanks to their partnership with Qualcomm and Maserati. This year, Google is a step closer to making it a reality.
Audi and Volvo's focus on integrating Android Auto into their next generation of vehicles will see a future-forward direction when it comes to in-car infotainment systems. Drivers of upcoming vehicles from these two manufacturers should soon be able to enjoy the seamless control of the air conditioning system, windows, sunroof and other aspects of the vehicle, hunting down places using Google Maps, enjoying one's favorite music on services like Spotify, or even engaging the service of Google Assistant, all without the need for an Android-powered smartphone in the vehicle.
The growth of Android Auto since its announcement at Google I/O three years ago has been phenomenal, with more than 300 different car models supporting Android Auto in one form or another today. Aftermarket stereo systems also comprise of another sizable Android Auto market. If the vehicle you drive is not compatible with Android Auto, many Android-powered smartphones will be able to take advantage of the Android Auto app, where a familiar interface that consists of large buttons with voice control capability is present on the smartphone's screen. Android Auto does look as though it has a very bright path ahead, and there is always Apple's CarPlay as a rival to help it maintain its competitive, evolutionary edge.