Open Auto Alliance, What you Need to Know

Some of you have probably heard about the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) coalition that Google has formed with Audi, Hyundai, Honda, General Motors, and Nvidia.  The goal is to bring the Android operating system to cars and make them more connected.  You can read my article “Google forms Open Automotive Alliance with major Tech & Auto players to bring Android to Cars” from yesterday.

Since I've gotten a lot of questions about the Open Auto Alliance I thought I would post these FAQ's directly from the Open Automotive Alliance website.  This should anser a lot of questions people probably have about the OAA.  

Note, I've changed around some of the wording of the questions to make them easier to understand and read.  Why read questions written by marketers? 

What is the Open Automotive Alliance?

The Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) is a group of technology and automotive companies who have come together to bring the best of Android into the automobile in a safe and seamless way.

Who is in the Open Automotive Alliance?

The founding members of the Open Automotive Alliance are Audi, General Motors, Google, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia. Though this announcement is the beginning, not the end. We’ll enthusiastically work with any company interested in the compatible use of the Android with cars.

Why is the OAA beneficial to automakers?

Automakers will be able to leverage a platform already being used by millions to deliver a familiar and consistent experience to their customers. Taking a platform centric approach enables high quality application development in a way that is purpose built for cars.

Why is the OAA beneficial to drivers?

Drivers are already trying to access mobile services while they're on the road, but in ways that aren't always seamless or safe. By working with automakers to deliver these experiences in ways that make sense for the automobile, drivers can get what they're looking for without disrupting their focus on the road.

Why is the OAA beneficial for software developers?

With one platform that developers are already familiar with to target (rather than a patchwork of platforms from different automakers), developers will be able to focus on delivering a powerful experience for users.

Who can join the Open Automotive Alliance?

We welcome those in the automotive and technology space who are committed to bringing the best of mobile into the automobile in safe and seamless ways.

How will Android work inside of a car?

We're working with our partners to enable better integration between cars and Android devices in order to create a safer, car optimized experience. We're also developing new Android platform features that will enable the car itself to become a connected Android device. Stay tuned for more details coming soon.

When can I get Android in my car? What does the roadmap look like?

You can expect to see the first cars with Android integration by the end of this year.

Are you working with government safety organizations?

Yes, we have been in contact with government agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Our goal is to build an experience that helps drivers get what they're looking for without disrupting their focus on the road.

Google forms Open Automotive Alliance with major Tech & Auto players to bring Android to Cars

open automotive alliance

Google announced today the formation of the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) coalition which General Motors, Audi, Hyundai, and Honda are part of.  In addition Nvidia, a graphics card manufacturer for computers, is also joining forces with Google and the OAA.  What is the goal?  To bring Google's mobile Android operating system to vehicles.

To date there have been over 1 billion mobile devices activated on Android.  While those numbers are impressive Google is hoping to extend the Android devices even further and into cars, a mobile platform too, by forming the OAA and building up this industry alliance.  Audi, GM, Google, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia are committed to bring the Android platform to cars starting this year, 2014.

The idea it to have a common and open source platform which makes it easy and intuitive for all automakers, parts suppliers, and 3rd parties to build technology and software for cars of the future.  This open source model of Android, which utilizes the Linux kernel, should especially allow software developers to deliver powerful experiences for drivers and passengers in a safe, scalable, and secure way.

“Working toward a common ecosystems benefits driver safety above all.” said Ricky Hudi, Head of Electrics/Electronics Development at Audi.

“Millions of people are already familiar with Android and use it everyday… The expansion of the Android platform into automotive will allow our industry partners to more easily integrate mobile technology into cars and offer drivers a familiar, seamless experience so they can focus on the road.” commented Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps at Google. “

“The Honda team is looking forward to collaborating with Google and all OAA members to help advance the safety, value and ease of use of connected-car technologies.”  said Yoshiharu Yamamoto, president, CEO and director of Honda R&D Co., Ltd.

“By introducing the latest IT technologies safely and securely throughout our full range of vehicles, we continually strive to provide the highest levels of convenience and enhance the in-vehicle experience.” said Dr. Woong-Chul Yang, Vice Chairman of R&D, Hyundai Motor Group.

“The car is the ultimate mobile computer. With onboard supercomputing chips, futuristic cars of our dreams will no longer be science fiction,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer, Nvidia.

It's pretty clear the companies behind Open Automotive Alliance share a vision for the connected car which has been talked about for years in the tech and automotive press.  Up until now it really seemed more of a pipe dream than something that was doable since most automakers have their own infotainment systems and software which is proprietary and only for that automaker.  

In addition to connected cars it seem the OAA has the goal to make safer cars too.  The OAA has been in contact with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) but it is not clear what their collaboration could bring or how it will improve vehicle safety at this point.

We can expect to see Android integrated cars by the end of the year and Open Automotive Alliance is actively looking for other automakers and technology companies to join the coalition.  I assume a lot of other automakers will.

My Take on the Open Automotive Alliance

Highly ambitious but highly doable with Google's resources and their weight in the market. Since the company has already been working on self-driving cars for years this seems a logical step in their goal for connected and safer cars.  Probably much to the dismay of some gearheads but it seems like Google could pull off putting self-driving cars on the road quicker than anyone thought.  That depends on how many automakers join the Open Automotive Alliance.  

In addition this should make it easier for Audi, General Motors, Honda, and Hyundai to build and scale their infotainment systems. Each automaker can learn from each other about what works and doesn't with implementing Android into their vehicles. That is if they want to share and are willing to share what they know.  

This allows software developers who already build for Android to consider getting into the vehicle market too, which could be quite profitable for some Android developers.

The only people who are fretting about this news is likely are Apple and Microsoft.  They already have partnerships with automakers to integrate their software into vehicles.  Some auto manufacturers might be able to resist the siren call of Google depending on how powerful the Open Automotive Alliance becomes.  We will have to wait and see how the software wars for cars plays out.

Parking Panda Android app finally Released

parking panda android app

Parking Panda recently announced they have released an app for Android smartphones on Google Play.  The Baltimore based parking service has long had an app available for Apple iOS devices but Android smartphone users were left out.  Fortunately for us that is not the case anymore.

Some of you might be thinking, “What is Parking Panda?”  I first wrote about the innovative parking service back in October of 2011.  (Man… that feels like a long time ago.)  Essentially the idea is that you have a parking space you want to rentout and earn some extra cash on, you can go onto the website or app and it allows you to list your parking spot easily.  Additionally if you need parking you can go use Parking Panda to find a space near a Convention Center or ballpark when parking gets crowded.

The parking service is currently in over 20+ cities across the country.  The latest cities Parking Panda added includes Houston and Dallas.  In addition they have partnerships with many garages as well as private parking space owners.  Parking Panda recently became the official parking sponsor of the Verizon Center in Washington DC.

This is a smart since this allows parking garage operators to better anticipate and sell their spaces in advance.  This saves people time looking for a space and probably makes the garage more money I assume.  (Although originally the idea behind Parking Panda was that the service would be for individuals.)

I was one of the first people to download the Parking Panda Android app it seems to work pretty well.  I might use Parking Panda when I need to find a parking spot in Philadelphia for Affiliate Summit soon.  I haven't decided whether to drive or take the train into Philly.  The train will be more relaxing but parking will be easy with the Parking Panda Android app. 🙂

Parking Panda not only has added cities but I've noticed the site is faster and more intuitive since it launched 2 years ago.  Hopefully Nick Miller and Adam Zilberbaum, the co-founders, will continue to make additional improvements to Parking Panda and make parking less of a pain for everyone.