Google is to provide the world's largest carmaker group, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, with an operating system (OS) for its vehicle media displays. The deal will take effect from 2021.
Googles Android's OS, the world's predominant smartphone OS, will be in an estimated 14 million cars from 2022, according to number from the Alliance. The OS will have entertainment features, access to the Play Store as well as GPS functionality.
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This follows years of resistance by carmakers who viewed tech companies such as Google as competitors, hence they chose to build their own GPS systems instead. Despite not being car makers themselves (yet), the concern was whether Google would have the ability to mine valuable data from GPS systems which could then either monetize or be used to train its self-driving AI systems.
However, both BMW and Mercedes Benz have had issues creating systems as good as Google Maps, which is part of the reason this deal has been struck. "In the future, the Google Assistant, which employs Google’s leading AI technology, can become the main way customers interact with their vehicles, hands-free," said Kal Mos, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi’s Global VP of connected vehicles.
Android Auto, a Google OS has already been created specifically for cars on smartphones and is expected to aid drivers with the transition. However, despite Google's partnership with the Alliance, they will still be permitting compatibility with a few other OS such as Apple's OS for cars, CarPlay.