A year after Android Auto was announced with 35 automakers across the world committed to bring it to market, Hyundai has become the first automaker to integrate Google’s smartphone-connected infotainment operating system into its 2015 Sonata with navigation. Existing Sonata with navigation owners can get the Android Auto software update free of charge at Hyundai dealers starting today. Later this summer, owners can visit www.hyundaiusa.com/myhyundai and download the Android Auto software onto a USB memory drive.
Chevrolet is going big and announced that fourteen cars in its product line-up, starting the 2016 model year, will have Android Auto integrated into the infotainment systems. Expect more automakers to make announcements about their integration of Android Auto throughout the year.
Android Auto brings Google Maps navigation, voice-messaging, calling, voice search, Google Now, and a handful of music and podcast apps to cars, ditching the antiquated, overly complex system installed from the factory.
The technology is remarkably simple to use. Just plug in your smartphone, the car recognizes it, and puts the approved apps onto the screen — all while charging your phone. Basically, it looks and works similarly to what you use on your phone, but without all the bells and whistles and potentials for distraction. It also pairs Bluetooth automatically, taking that step out of the equation.
Then, you have your contacts, maps, music, podcasts and your “Google Now” cards right on the car’s screen. Voice commands generally work a lot better than your car’s previous build-in system, and the operating system is generally pretty good at predicting where you’re going — home, work, restaurant, gym, etc., so just click once on “the predictive card” and the map loads the directions with traffic and other information.