Subscribe

Google and Hyundai team up for first new Android Auto car

Android Auto, a dashboard operating system for cars, began shipping this week in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Reviewers say Android Auto is a good way to access music, Google Maps, and other smart phone features without having to take your eyes off the road.

  • close
    The interior of a 2015 Hyundai Sonata, with a connected Android phone, is shown. Android Auto largely replaces the car's built-in operating system to allow drivers to access music, maps, texts, and other smart phone apps.
    Hyundai/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Android Auto, Google’s operating system for cars, began shipping in aftermarket kits in March, but this week, it finally hit new cars, as well. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata is the first car with built-in Android Auto, though the OS will be coming to other cars in the near future.

Android Auto lets a car connect to Android phones with a USB cable, and allows certain apps to run right through the car’s dashboard. Drivers can take a hands-free phone call, get Google Maps directions, or listen to music through Spotify or other audio apps, without having to touch the phone itself.

It’s worth noting that Android Auto doesn’t totally replace the Hyundai Sonata’s standard dashboard interface; it’s basically an app that launches automatically when a compatible Android phone (one running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher) is connected. Since the Sonata already has microphones and buttons built in to the car, drivers can interact with Android Auto through voice commands or cabin controls.

Recommended: What Google's investments reveal about the company and the future

Google put a number of restrictions on Android Auto to make sure that drivers don’t get distracted from watching the road. Once a phone is plugged in, all control is ceded to the car’s dashboard display, so you won’t be tempted to squint at the phone’s screen. App lists, such as lists of songs or playlists within the Spotify app, have a set maximum length so drivers can’t scroll endlessly. And notifications from Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media sites won’t show up at all in Android Auto.

The operating system is generally built around voice search features, which are considered a safer way to interact with software while in the car since it doesn’t require you to take your eyes off the road at all. For example, Android Auto will read incoming text messages aloud and allow you to verbally dictate a response, but it won’t allow you to reread messages that have already been received.

Early reviews of Android Auto, or at least its current implementation in the Sonata, are positive. “I found Android Auto to be a much more pleasant experience than Hyundai’s native system,” Dan Seifert wrote for The Verge. “It’s faster, gives me access to the same maps and music I use on my phone, and is just more pleasant and familiar to use. If I owned the Sonata, I can’t think of a reason why I’d use the native UI instead of Android Auto.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern praised the Google Maps implementation: “Thanks to Android Auto’s integration with Google Now, the next appointment in my Google calendar or the address of a recent search automatically popped up on the Android Auto home screen when I got into the car. I was amazed at just how well the system kept predicting where I was going next.”

People who already own a 2015 Hyundai Sonata can take the car in to the dealership to receive a software update enabling Android Auto. Hyundai says it will also release a downloadable update later this summer that people can load onto their cars via USB.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK