Google is sending its Android software beyond the world of phones to see what it can do for car dashboards.
Google and German car manufacturer Audi AG are teaming up to develop a new information and entertainment system based on the former's successful smartphone operating system. According to reports, the companies plan to announce the collaboration next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The goal is to create a product and interface that lets users access essential functions like maps, directions, audio and perhaps even climate control as they do on their smartphones. Google hopes to establish Android as an integral technology as the auto industry moves forward, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
The announcement is a response to Apple, which began partnering directly with automakers last year in an initiative called "iOS in the Car." Those companies include General Motors AG, BMW AG, Honda AG and Daimler AG, which are all helping to make their vehicles more compatible with Apple technology by integrating iOS functionality directly into their dashboard controls.
In addition to its collaboration with Google, Audi is also set to demonstrate self-driving cars and present a timetable for availability over the next four or five years, the Journal reports. Audi's self-driving technology, which can navigate a parking garage to find a parking space without the aid of a driver, is not the same as Google's.
The companies are also expected to announce partnerships with other companies at next year's CES including computer chip firm Nvidia.
Apple, on the other hand, whose Siri technology allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road by reading out directions and text messages, has said it expects 12 auto brands to integrate its technology in 2014.
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