Volvo will allow connection of both Android and Apple iOS phones; tablet-style display will show both phone mirror and vehicle information together

Volvo will allow connection of both Android and Apple iOS phones; tablet-style display will show both phone 'mirror' and vehicle information together

Volvo, Hyundai and Audi have all announced plans to begin introducing Android Auto technology on future new models.

Android Auto made its debut on 25 June at the 2014 Google I/O annual technology conference in San Francisco as the first innovation resulting from the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), a global alliance, launched in January by Google, Nvidia, Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai, to extend the Android platform into cars.

With Android Auto, drivers will be able to seamlessly access their Android device car apps using the automaker's proprietary displays (such as Audi's MMI) and controls optimised for safe and intuitive operation on the road.

The OAA is dedicated to building an open ecosystem around a common platform in order to drive innovation in the car, allowing automakers to deliver enhanced technology more quickly to drivers.

"Audi recognises the importance of meeting our customers' mobile technology needs on their terms," said Ricky Hudi, head of development electrics/electronics, at Audi. "But we should only do this through innovations, such as Android Auto, that reduce distractions and improve performance."

Android smartphone owners will see a prompt asking if they want their apps to function through the MMI touch display and controls. The graphics and audio streams, including microphone input and all control interfaces, will then operate with Android Auto thanks to seamless integration into the MMI mobile media application framework developed by the Audi software joint venture e-solutions on top of the QNX Car automotive operating system.

Apps showing multimedia video content or text heavy displays will be disabled while the car is in motion. Drivers can also easily switch between the Android view and the car infotainment functions as desired, or when disconnecting their Android phone.

Volvo claimed the interaction between Android Auto and its new user interface "transforms the look and feel of a car’s interior"

Android Auto will provide access to Google Search, Google Maps, Google Play Music and specially adapted third party applications, such as Spotify. All phone-based applications can be controlled via voice or steering wheel controls or the car’s portrait touch screen which displays both car and Android Auto content on the screen simultaneously, removing the need to switch between car and Android phone screens.

 Android Auto will be available on all new Volvos based on the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), starting with the all-new XC90, due for launch at this year’s Paris show.

Volvo will also include Apple CarPlay interoperability on all new SPA-based models.

Hyundai's fourth generation touchscreen audio video navigation (AVN) systems will incorporate Android Auto in some models starting in the 2015 model year, the automaker said. Like Volvo and Audi, Hyundai was a founding member of the OAA.

As with Volvos, drivers will be able to "project" their phone onto their in-dash display- an eight-inch touchscreen with microphone and, also like Volvo, "give users the benefit of having both Hyundai and Android Auto content co-existing simultaneously, [removing] the need to switch between a dedicated car and Android Auto screen", according to the automaker.

Visually it becomes part of the on-board system, displaying well-known icons for Android applications, Hyundai added.