Google makes play for in-car control

Google takes on Apple CarPlay

GOOGLE will battle Apple for control of the in-car dashboard with software that will blur the lines between smartphone and vehicle.

The software, which is expected to make its debut later this month at Google’s annual developer love-in, will compete with Apple’s CarPlay revealed at this year’s Detroit motor show.

Apple’s version of the software is already rolling out via several premium and luxury brands including Volvo, Mercedes-Benz Ferrari and Jaguar, and more mainstream brands including Honda, Subaru and Hyundai.

It allows users to integrate their smartphones with their cars, controlling functions such as phone and satellite navigation via Siri, Apple’s voice-based software.

It also allows the car makers to skimp on equipment such as satellite navigation and radio systems, with the car able to piggyback off the smartphone’s mobile phone network-based internet connection to provide web-based services instead.

Google’s system is being developed as part of an alliance formed early this year between car makers, including Audi and General Motors, and video hardware specialist Nvidia to provide connectivity between smartphones running Apple iOS-rivalling Android software, which is owned by the software giant.

The alliance said it would launch its first in-car products by the end of this year.

“We're working with our partners to enable better integration between cars and Android devices in order to create a safer, car-optimised experience,” the Open Automotive Alliance said.

“We're also developing new Android platform features that will enable the car itself to become a connected Android device.”

BMW will this month launch its ConnectedDrive application in Australia that will provide a number of in-car services using the mobile phone network’s internet data via a chip built into the car’s electronics.

Services available to BMW owners include the ability to listen to emails and answer via voice, Google searches, and news and weather feeds.

The system will also allow BMW to monitor a car’s health, and contact an owner when a service is due or a problem is flagged.

However, the captive service will cost owners up to $1200 a year, with a minimum annual spend of $690.

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