Aside from Ford’s Sync and MyFord Touch platform, most auto manufacturers employ a version of the Blackberry QNX operating system for their in-car entertainment and functionality. The future of Blackberry is unclear, and auto makers were working together to figure out a new solution. They have now teamed with Google to create the Open Automotive Alliance. The OAA should be Google’s foothold into the infotainment systems in vehicles, and could potentially create a unified app platform across many of the automotive brands.
The alliance currently consists of Google, NVIDIA, Hyundai, Honda, General Motors, and Audi. The primary goals of the alliance is to create a universal platform that is open for developers similar to the way Android currently works. The benefits of this are potentially huge, because right now if someone wants to write an app that supports in-vehicle connectivity, they have to write it to interface with each automaker’s systems separately. Ford’s AppLink system is open, but as previously lamented, it does not work with MyFord Touch yet. App developers have to partner with the other brands in the current environment to have their app supported. By implementing Android in the vehicle, an app developer could write the app once and have it work across the automotive spectrum.
At CES, Chevrolet announced that they will be providing LTE data support in future vehicles, which will help them push out application updates quickly, but make it easier for app designers to design for the vehicle. Combined with the open nature of Android, Google’s “late” entry to the automotive infotainment space may end up being the dominating system.