Automotive alliance plugs in to the power of Android
Google Maps and voice-controlled Google Assistant will be among a raft of new built-in features from the Android universe
Most factory-fitted car navigation systems can’t hold a candle to Google Maps, especially when it comes to the ease of inputting a destination. Instead of the rigmarole of typing in a street address, the Google navigator most times allows you to directly input a company name or point of interest, which is much simpler. And, unlike most factory navs, it offers real-time traffic information which allows you to avoid traffic jams.
This functionality — and a lot more — will soon become available in all Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi vehicles in a new technology partnership that will see Google’s Android operating system embedded in the automotive alliance’s cars.
Starting in 2021, the world’s most popular operating system will become available in vehicles sold by the alliance in many markets. Apart from providing turn-by-turn navigation with Google Maps, it will give owners of those brands access to a rich ecosystem of automotive apps on the Google Play store, including the ability to answer calls and texts, control media, find information and manage vehicle functions with voice using the built-in Google Assistant.
The alliance, which last year sold 10.6-million vehicles in 200 markets, will integrate Google applications and services into infotainment and cloud-based systems to give Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi customers one of the most intelligent infotainment systems on the market.
Each brand will have flexibility to create a customer interface and specific features on top of the common Android platform.
"Our partnership with Google will offer owners of our vehicles rich user experiences that are currently available only outside the vehicle or, to a limited extent, by connecting an Android device to supported vehicles," says Hadi Zablit, Senior Vice-President of Business Development at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.
"We are building powerful connected and seamless on-board/off-board experiences into our vehicles in addition to the features of Google applications and services that users are accustomed to, including Google Maps, the Google Assistant and the Google Play Store." The system will also be compatible with devices running other operating systems, such as Apple iOS.
The infotainment partnership forms part of alliance moves to equip more vehicles with connectivity and cloud-based services as part of its Alliance 2022 mid-term plan. The plan also involves the launch of 12 new zero-emission electric vehicles, new autonomous-driving technologies and the Alliance Intelligent Cloud. The latter will provide next-generation infotainment systems with secure connectivity by offering a platform to integrate data management, infotainment systems and to facilitate over-the-air upgrades and remote diagnostics.
Kal Mos, Global Vice-President of Alliance Connected Vehicles at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, added: "With the integration of the Android platform into our infotainment systems, we are adding a new level of intelligence to our connected vehicles.
The Google Assistant, which employs Google’s leading AI technology, can become the main way customers interact with their vehicles, hands-free."