Today was Google I/O 2017’s first official day and there was a handful of stuff to be seen during the Keynote speech that began this morning, but also on the grounds of the conference which is happening in Mountain View, we were able to take a closer look at the Audi Q8 Sport concept with Android built-in. This is unique in that it’s different from other devices which have Android in the car as those are built with Android Auto, and while the Q8 Sport concept is using software that is built on the Android Auto framework it’s essentially Android as an embedded OS.
That being said, the Android software is just being used for the infotainment system as the climate controls and the instrument cluster is all based on Audi’s own software. Typically vehicles with Android Auto on the inside need the phone to be connected for full use, but what Audi has done here is bake the software right into the infotainment system without needing the device to be connected to the car at all.
Another thing to keep in mind is that although the infotainment system is basically Android, there is a UI skin which Audi has applied to it so it won’t actually look like your standard Android smartphone or tablet. This might make things feel a little less familiar but the system should be rather simple to get acquainted with. Users will be able to access things like Google Play Music, Spotify, and other services that you can find on a standard Android device, and it even has Google Assistant integrated into it so users will be able to interact with the system by using just their voice, which makes for a perfect experience for drivers as it will allow them to keep their hands on the wheel and not fiddle with things on the screen. Audi says the Q8 Sport Concept will be a production ready vehicle and that they have plans for it to hit the market later this year as the 2018 Q8 Sport, though they haven’t announced an exact date for the release nor the cost.