Google is working on building Android Auto directly into cars, bypassing the need to connect a smartphone to a car’s infotainment system.
Reuters reported that Google plans to roll out the software when it launches the next version of Android, rumoured to be called Android M.
Google showcased Android Auto earlier in 2014, but said only that the software was “coming soon” rather than revealing any definitive date.
The Android Auto webpage names several major car manufacturers that will feature the software in new cars.
The manufacturers range from luxury marques such as Bentley and Maserati, to mass-market producers including Honda, Kia and Ford.
Integrating Android Auto directly into cars will allow drivers to avoid the often fiddly process of connecting and synching a smartphone to a car’s infotainment system via Bluetooth or a USB cable.
The Reuters source explained that this means Android Auto will not be at the mercy of the limited battery life of smartphones.
“With embedded it’s always on, always there. You don’t have to depend on your phone being there and on,” the source said.
The video below outlines Google’s ambitions for Android Auto.
Android Auto puts the mobile operating system in deeper competition with Apple, which is also developing a way to bring smartphone features into cars with the CarPlay software unveiled in March.
This may mean that drivers need not only to choose a car from a preferred manufacturer, but to pick an iOS or Android in-car system.
Some car manufacturers might be wary of integrating Android Auto, as it would involve putting control of the system into Google’s hands, potentially raising concerns over data use.
Google is already working on driverless car prototypes, so it is likely that Android Auto will find its way into the company’s autonomous cars.
V3 contacted Google for more information, but the firm declined to comment.
Many technology brands are exploring the use of internet connectivity in vehicles, but there are concerns about the threat from hackers and cyber criminals.
Cyber security has been highlighted as a top priority for connected cars, particularly those that are driverless or offer similar automation features that could be exploited.