Google introduces Android Auto compatibility for Android 5.0 Lollipop and higher; expands coverage to more automobile brands

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Nov 28, 2016 03:24 AM EST

Google is hitting the headlines now due to its Android OS - first because of the 7.0 Nougat update and now with Android Auto. With autonomous driving on the rise, the tech giant is making a great yet promising gamble using Android.

Android Auto can be a game-changer in autopilot technology, as it includes features that involve connecting smartphones for driving-related data collection. 

Google first launched Android Auto as a concept way back on June 2014, featuring amenities that allow users to send commands from their Android smartphones to play songs, videos and control the navigation system in their automobiles.

Android Auto is part of the Open Automotive Alliance launched on January 2014, the main aim of which is to enable users to have full control over the car's dashboard head unit and set in-car controls.
Back then, however, previous Android versions on smartphones provide only limited support for Android Auto. But now, Google's 7.0 Nougat upgrade for Android on smartphones provides full seamless support for Android Auto.

Android smartphones or tablets with Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher can run with Android Auto. Once a compatible smartphone is plugged on the car's USB port, Android Auto can start running all of its apps. Right now, 28 car companies worldwide have expressed desire to install Android Auto, among which includes Fiat, Hyundai, and SEAT. 

What's impressive is the fact that Android Auto enables drivers to have minimal distractions while driving, and its safety features are accessible via voice control. It allows users to launch apps, answer calls, and play entertainment without touching the screen.

Android Auto has several other noteworthy features: it can make and receive calls, use voice control for web searches, and monitor speed, distance, and fuel level.

Currently, Android Auto has gained support from various car companies. Google announced at a Tokyo press conference that it would feature Android Auto in select Audi, BMW, Honda, Maserati, and Volkswagen automobiles, with Nissan and Panasonic at the forefront of manufacturing head units. 

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