Does Android Auto Make Driving and Navigation Safer?

The new Android Auto rolls out this year on the 2015 Hyundai Sonata and can be retrofitted to a number of other vehicles as well. Those who are considering the new Google operating system may love the functionality of having everything at your fingertips, even when driving a vehicle. However, system safety while driving is also a big concern for everyone on the road. Google says they have taken steps to ensure that navigation, messaging and other functions are safe for drivers and their passengers. Have they gone far enough?

What Is Android Auto?

Android Auto is Google’s operating system designed for cars. The system allows drivers to control their smartphone apps through a dashboard interface that comes already installed on the 2015 Hyundai Sonata and is scheduled to be added to other vehicles in the future.

The idea behind Android Auto is to replace the smart phone with a safer and more driver-friendly interface. This platform allows drivers to make calls, get directions, send texts and listen to music without the dangers associated with operating a smart phone while driving.

How Does Android Auto Encourage Driver Safety?

One of the ways that Google has designed Android Auto to increase driver safety is through the use of voice commands. Because all apps can be launched via voice control, drivers do not have to divert their attention from the road to type anything. The platform can also read text messages arriving from friends and even repeat the driver’s texts aloud before sending. This prevents the driver from having to remove his or her eyes from the road, even while texting.

What Are the Features of Google’s Android Auto?

One of the key safety features of Android Auto is voice-drive commands, but the program features many other ways to keep drivers safe and offers a wide range of options for control of in-vehicle app use. Because music is so important when traveling, music control is a key feature of Android Auto. The platform is compatible with Google Play Music, Spotify and iHeart Radio. Drivers can use voice search to find songs, artists or to scroll through a playlist.

Because Google already offers a “digital assistant,” Android Auto incorporates Google Now to offers suggestions for many common issues and questions such as locating a restaurant or finding alternate routes home. Google Now is an easy way to handle many routine tasks by voice while driving, including making lists or searching for information on the web.

Choosing Android Auto Over Other Navigation Systems

Many of the navigation systems available on today’s vehicles are considered “clunky.” Users complain that some systems are difficult to use or do not have the features that they want. Google’s Android Auto is an improvement over many other systems, and experts believe it will be competitive with Apple’s CarPlay, due to roll out to vehicles in the near future.

One great feature of Android Auto is that users do not have to purchase a new car to enjoy this software. By utilizing a stereo receiver that supports the Google interface, such as those made by Pioneer, Alpine, Clarion, and JVC/Kenwood, it is possible to upgrade an existing dashboard system to include the new Google Android Auto. However, if a car manufacturer is not part of the Open Automotive Alliance, it may be difficult or impossible to adapt the existing system to support Android Auto. Toyota, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which have their own dashboard systems, are part of the group of auto manufacturers that do not support the Open Automotive Alliance.

For drivers who are interested in safety as well as convenience, Google’s Android Auto may be a great choice. With control over apps and features as well as hands-free, voice-activated commands, Android Auto enhances driver safety while still supplying the freedom to use smartphone features anywhere and at any time.