Automakers strive for competitive-edge with tech-loaded cars

Hyundai Sonata 2015

Hyundai Sonata 2015

According to a recent report by the IHS Automotive, by 2020, nearly 31 million vehicles could feature Apple’s CarPlay, and another 37 million could have Android Auto. It stated that the growth rate would trace the rise of Bluetooth and auxiliary-cord inputs that have been seen over the last 10 years.

Looking like a battle for the dashboard where Toyota and Ford are preparing to defend their vehicle dashboards as tech-industry bigwigs Google is advancing to dominate the industry, Ford’s SDL opens a source platform that integrates smartphones apps with vehicles through dashboard buttons, display screens and voice recognition technology.

Reuters said on Wednesday that Toyota is engaging with the SDL project and investigating further partnership with Ford and its wholly-owned subsidiary Livio, the project maintainer for the SmartDeviceLink software. “The in-car app market is quickly evolving.

Developing robust, flexible, safe and user-friendly connected services is a priority for us,” Toyota said in a separate statement on Wednesday.

Toyota and Ford agreed to collaborate on development of next generation standards for in-car telematics in August 2011, Toyota said.

Similarly, Hyundai announced earlier that its 2015 Sonata would be the first production vehicle in the world to come loaded with Google’s new android auto operating system. Android auto is a version of Google’s android OS that runs exclusively in vehicles.

The system was developed to provide users with easier access to their smartphone’s features, like music streaming, phone calls, and navigation, all on car’s dashboard screen. Android smartphone users who also have a 2015 Sonata sedan can now ask car dealers to download the system for free.

It connects to the driver’s smartphone and allows them to access apps like Google Maps by voice, steering wheel controls or a touchscreen on the dashboard.

The plan was first announced in 2014. Google revealed last year that it was working with automakers including Hyundai, Audi and Honda to integrate the system in to their dashboards. The tech giant said the system would be offered in 28 different brands by the 2016 model year. Apple, its main rival, had also signed similar deals with BMW, GM and Honda.

Hyundai, which is the world’s fifth largest auto group with affiliate Kia Motors, said it planned to offer the android system in other models, along with Apple’s version of the system called CarPlay soon.

It added that the “high technology experience” also improves the driver’s safety. “The smartphone’s screen becomes locked, so drivers are not tempted to look down and interact with their phones directly while android auto is in use,” the carmaker said in a statement.

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