Google has a plan for Android Auto that would make it much more robust than a version of Android that simply projects smartphone apps onto a car's infotainment display, it's claimed.
According to Reuters, which cited unnamed sources, Google is now developing a version of Android that would be built directly into partner cars. This version of Android is considered a "major step up" from Android Auto but will apparently still be considered a form of Android Auto, a platform designed by Google specifically for automobiles.
The new car software is expected to let drivers access the Internet without having to plug in their Android smartphones. Android Auto currently requires a smartphone to be plugged into a compatible vehicle, and then it displays supported apps on a dashboard screen. Many of the first Android Auto-compatible vehicles are expected to appear at CES 2015.
Google announced Android Auto and the Open Automotive Alliance earlier this year, followed by Apple and its CarPlay platform. Both platforms are meant to give drivers access to their smartphones and apps and content while driving, but Google's new effort, which is expected to launch in a year, alongside the next version of Android, codenamed Android M, is majorly different.
Reuters claimed it will be part of a vehicle and may even tap into an advanced car's camera, sensors, fuel gauge, and Internet connections. It'll serve as a standard system that powers entertainment and navigation features, through direct integration, and it'll allow drivers to use Google's services whenever they start the ignition. Their Android phones won't be involved at all.
So, if your phone should die, your car will still be able to stream music, send texts, read emails, load maps, etc. Google could also get something in return by accessing your GPS location, where you travel, and where you go for gas, and then it can use that data for advertising purposes.
It's a lofty ambition, especially for a company just starting to get into the infotainment space. Not only does Google face competition from Apple, but there are also several companies, such as QNX, which are deep-rooted in the car market and practically everywhere.