Not long ago, a scenario in which you access telephony and messaging by using a voice interface in your car would be considered super futuristic and unattainable endeavor; yet, on the annual developer Google conference held from 24-26 June 2014 in San Francisco, California, some new trends in the car industry have been announced confirming the speculations that smartcars will become a reality by the end of this year.
Namely, what they have prepared for us is the much anticipated Android Auto app, the main purpose of which is to reduce distracting activities while driving, such as navigating, sending and receiving SMS messages or emails, selecting music and making phone calls.
How will that be achieved?
Being both contextually aware and voiced-controlled, Android Auto will become fully operable once the driver plugs his Android phone or tablet into his motor vehicle's console. The app's interface will be displayed on the car's dashboard, and the driver will be able to interact with it via voice command or by tapping the console touchscreen or buttons on his steering wheel. In particular, the driver will be presented with three main screen widgets: "Navigation", "Communications" and "Music" so he will be able to manage those options while being focused on the road and, at the same time, with his both hands firmly on the steering wheel. That way, safe driving, the underlying aim of the whole project, will be achieved.
This may sound like a science fiction story; however, there were indications that Google could introduce such a novelty as in January this year, it formed an alliance called the " Open Automotive Alliance" consisting of 40 automakers and partners, some of them including Audi, Hyundai, Honda Chrysler, Ford and VW. What has been proudly highlighted by Patrick Brady, Android director of engineering, the first automobiles that will be compatible with Android Auto will be launched by the end of 2014.
Believe it or not
Google's main competitor, Apple, had announced a similar distraction-free system even before the Google's Android Auto. Apple's CarPlay has more or less the same functionality as its counterpart, with the exception that it relies on Siri voice control. 2014 will be a great year for CarPlay, too as some very notable car manufacturers have promised to launch their models with the Siri feature implemented. These include: Volvo, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz.
Whatever your preferred operating system or brand may be, we are sure that you are looking forward to what both Google and Apple have in stock for us.