Google has today announced Google Assistant is now coming to the car. More specifically, Google Assistant is now coming to Android Auto for users in the US. Google made the announcement as part of its CES 2018 announcements which in general have largely focused on the expansion of Google Assistant.
Once Google Assistant compatibility arrives for Android Auto users, those users will be able to make use of many of the same features available to other devices also boasting the Assistant, as well as those which are somewhat more specific to cars. Speaking of which, Google today also confirmed that two new features that are on the way, and likely to be of benefit to drivers, is the use of Google Assistant to reserve a parking space (through SpotHero) and order a drink from Starbucks. While the finer details of the rollout have yet to be explained, Google has detailed that “tens of millions” of cars are already using Android Auto and it is presumed most, if not all, will gain the functionality at some point. Much like a number of the other features that are available with Android Auto, getting started with Google Assistant will require the user to connect their Android phone to a vehicle equipped with Android Auto. At which point voice commands and Actions will be possible directly through the Android Auto unit. However, it is worth noting that this is more of the immediate solution to gaining Google Assistant functionality in the car, as Google also used today’s announcement to confirm that it is already working with some manufacturers to offer a phone-less version of Assistant in the car. Although no firm details on which manufacturers, or when this will become available, were provided.
In addition to the main announcement detailing Android Auto’s compatibility with Google Assistant, Google also confirmed select Kia and Fiat Chrysler models will soon be gaining additional functionality when using Google Assistant on a phone, speaker, or a TV. These features are already available on select models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai, and include the ability to check aspects like the fuel level. Again, besides announcing the Kia and Fiat Chrysler features as incoming, Google did not provide any firm details on when owners of these vehicles can expect these new feature to go live.