Article

Niharika Singhai
Niharika Singhai 2 August 2017

Telematics & Android: What The OS Means For Connected Cars

In November of 2007, Google announced the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), which consisted of 34 companies whose goal is to “…accelerate innovation in mobile and offer consumers a richer, less expensive, and better mobile experience.” The OHA planned to achieve this goal by introducing the first free and open mobile OS, which we now know as Android.

Nearly ten years later, the OHA currently consists of 84 companies, and Android is the largest mobile OS in the world. According to Strategy Analytics, at the end of 2013, Android owned 79% of the global mobile market share.

The Open Automotive Alliance

At the beginning of 2014, with over one billion Android devices activated throughout the world, Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA). The OAA hopes to expand the popularity of Android by bringing the platform into the automobile. The car manufacturers involved in the OAA include Audi, General Motors, Honda, and Hyundai, and the first Android connected cars are anticipated to appear by the end of 2014. If the past is any indication of what might happen, this could be a huge development in the automobile industry.

How Is Android Expected To Be Used In The Automobile?

In the initial announcement, no specific examples were given of what kinds of behavior we can expect from an Android connected car, but Sundar Pichai, who then was the Senior Vice President of Android, noted that “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.”

So what should we expect from the first Android connected cars? Let’s take a look at three solutions that currently exist today in order to get a better idea of what is available and the features that some drivers are using.

Dash

Dash is a hardware + software solution that integrates with Onboard Diagnostics version 2 (available in cars from 1996 to current date) and can give you information such as travel history, information regarding your driving behavior, automatic crash notifications, diagnostic reports if your car breaks down, etc. There is even a social component that compares your driving with your friends and unlocks achievements (in the form of digital bumper stickers) and promotions based on your driving score.

 PLX Kiwi 2 Bluetooth

The Kiwi 2 Bluetooth is a hardware tool that connects to the onboard diagnostic port (version 2) and can communicate data from your car to your Android device via a Bluetooth connection. PLX claims that this device is compatible with several applications, including Dash Command and Torque. Both of these applications, along with the Kiwi 2 Bluetooth connector, allow you to monitor, in real time, information such as horsepower, torque, acceleration, gas mileage, fuel consumption, fuel economy, fuel pressure, air/fuel ratio, and various engine temperatures (a full list of features can be found on the Google Play pages linked above).

Renault R-Link

Renault is French automobile manufacturer that has developed its own Android platform, R-Link, that integrates and connects with automobiles. It is currently available on their ZOE, New Clio Hatchback/Estate/R.S., Captur, and New Kangoo Express line of cars. According to Renault, the R-Link features numerous multimedia functions such as navigation, radio, Bluetooth connectivity for audio-streaming, as well as the ability to make phone calls. They also note that the R-Link can “…provide comprehensive information to help drivers optimize their route, range and remaining battery charge.”

So What Should We Expect?

As we can see from the three solutions listed above, there appear to be two main categories that third-parties are focusing on: entertainment and information.

 Information

In terms of handling information, current solutions utilize data from on board diagnostics (version 2). OBD-II was made mandatory in all cars made from 1996 onward, so we are confident in saying that the new Android connected cars will contain OBD-II. Using a 16-pin diagnostic connector, data about the vehicle can be queried from a controller area network bus (CAN-bus) via parameter IDs.

An automobile contains many electronic control units (ECUs) which control certain aspects of the vehicle. For example, cars have an engine control unit, speed control unit, transmission control unit, battery management systems, etc. The CAN-bus connects these ECUs and is capable of sending and receiving information from these components. By using an OBD-II tool, a message can be sent to the CAN-bus which contains a parameter ID. The CAN-bus can interpret this message, and based on the parameter ID, it can query the appropriate ECUs for the information it needs. This information is then sent back to the OBD tool to be interpreted.

 Entertainment

On the entertainment side of things, current Android-to-Automobile solutions allow the user to stream audio from their phone, get driving directions via GPS, and make phone calls. Some even include a social component and promotions to encourage better driving behaviors.

Android currently provides many of these capabilities. For example, the Google Maps app provides driving directions using GPS. Wireless Bluetooth capability, featured on most modern phones, allows users to stream audio and make phone calls using external Bluetooth devices. Android contains speech-to-text and text-to-speech capabilities, which could provide quick and accurate hands-free driving. Google+ social integration could allow users to compare driving behavior with friends.

To Infinity And Beyond

The first Android connected cars are expected sometime in 2014. Using data provided from OBD-II, and using the power of Android to control entertainment, these vehicles could revolutionize the way drivers manage their transportation needs.

This article was orginally published here

Republished with permission from Hughes Systique Corporation.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
Infographic - The Best Times and Days to Post to Social Media

Infographic - The Best Times and Days to Post to Social Media

With the social media landscape changing literally every single day, it's become a full-time job for social media managers to merely stay up-to-date on emerging and shifting trends and best practices. It's tedious, time-consuming, detail-oriented, and, quite frankly, a bit of a headache. But thanks to this new infographic, some guessing can be taken out of social media management.

Will Price
Will Price 21 September 2017
Read more
Customer Journey Mapping: A Real-Life Approach to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Customer Journey Mapping: A Real-Life Approach to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

As financial services and insurance (FSI) companies strive to deliver the seamless multi-channel customer experience, the traditional marketing model has been radically reimagined. Innovative institutions are showing how cross-functional teams focusing on the customer journey can work to develop a single view of the customer – an approach that can bring tangible rewards. Yet research shows that large institutions still have some way to go in maximising the return on their investment in this area.

Aoife McIlraith
Aoife McIlraith 18 September 2017
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
10 Marketing Lessons From Apple [Infographic]

10 Marketing Lessons From Apple [Infographic]

The 10-year-old kid, selling ice cold fresh lemonade on the street corner in your local neighbourhood had it right. He or she may not have realized it but the simple marketing strategy that they accidentally and innocently came up with works perfectly on the people strolling by on their daily walk.

Ellie Summers
Ellie Summers 19 September 2017
Read more