It looks like Android has finally earned its driver's license. Google today announced the Open Automotive Alliance, a new partnership between it and Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia that's aimed at "accelerating auto innovation" using an open and customizable approach.
Google explains that while many drivers rely on their Android phones and tablets for entertainment, navigation and more in the car, those devices aren't exactly optimized for use behind the wheel. The OAA aims to change that by making it easier to integrate Android hardware into a vehicle while also improving the operating system itself to make driving both safer and easier.
Smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly popular as in-car companions thanks to their entertainment and navigation apps, but the practice of actually using those features in a vehicle can be a bit awkward and, in the driver's case, distracting. Better integration of Android inside of vehicles will enable drivers and passengers to have a more enjoyable experience while using their favorite apps on the road, and it could certainly help to make things quite a bit safer as well. The good news is that we don't have to wait long to see the first fruits of the OAA's efforts, as the group expects the first cars with Android integration to be introduced by the end of 2014.
Do you use your smartphone or tablet while in the car? If so, what are some of the functions that it performs as your travel companion?