Google and Audi Work on an Android-Based Infotainment Platform

The search giant and the German automaker will unveil the product of their collaboration, a product competing against Apple’s Siri Eyes Free, at CES in Las Vegas, next week.

Volkswagen Group’s luxury vehicle division is no stranger to hi-tech. In fact, quite a few Audi prototypes with incredible designs and features appeared in such popular sci-fi films as I, Robot and Ender’s Game. Last year, the automaker even revealed an AR app for iOS that would help people troubleshoot their cars. Now, Audi worked together with Google on an Android-based in-car platform to rival Apple’s Siri Eyes Free. The two companies are bringing the battle to Germany, where Opel has already implemented Apple’s infotainment system in one of their cars.

Thilo Koslowski, an analyst at the research firm Gartner Inc., pointed out that Android and iOS smartphones and tablets represented only the initial phase in the Apple vs. Google battle: “The car is becoming the ultimate mobile device. Apple and Google see that and are trying to line up allies to bring their technology into the vehicle.”

The main purpose of such an Android infotainment system is to help drivers keep their eyes on the road and off their smartphones or tablets. In other words, this platform will offer drivers direct access to Google’s services and apps without the unnecessary distraction. Google Maps could replace the navigation systems that some cars come with, and this is only one scenario that proves the usefulness of such a platform.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the two companies also collaborated with NVIDIA for the product that will be unveiled at CES 2014. Other than that, however, there aren’t many known details. If the infotainment system contains all of the apps from the Google Play Store or only the ones made by Google is also an uncertainty. More than that, it is unknown if Audi is the only automaker that Google plans to collaborate with for the development of Android-based in-car platforms.

The infotainment platform developed with Google won’t be the only thing Audi wants to show off at CES 2014. Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight Concept, which will also be revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, ditches classic headlights for lasers. I guess Audi has made a goal from turning sci-fi into sci-fact.

If you liked this post, please check the Audi AR car manual and the sci-fi Audi virtual concept car made for Ender’s Game.