Android Auto is just for infotainment systems, while Android Automotive is a full operating system for cars. Following Volvo earlier this year with the Polestar 2, General Motors announced today that it plans to adopt the native Google experience for its vehicles starting in 2021.

GM announced the Android Automotive partnership with Google today in response to “customer feedback” asking for an “embedded technology experience in the vehicle” and increased expectation for “seamless integration between the tech in their hands and the tech in their vehicle.”

The carmaker specifically touts upcoming advantages and improvements in three areas: voice assistant, embedded navigation, and in-vehicle applications.

Google Assistant will be able to do all standard hands-free voice functions like texting, playing audio, and controlling home appliances, like opening/closing a smart garage door. Car-specific features include changing the temperature, as well as interacting with OnStar or Connected Services plans to check on tire pressure and schedule maintenance.

GM will continue to offer “unique infotainment features,” including service recommendations, vehicle health status, and in-vehicle commerce. Android Automotive can be customized from brand-to-brand with GM’s solution looking different from the one shown off by Volvo (shown in the cover image above). The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance announced last year that it would also adopt Android Automotive in its vehicles.

Meanwhile, Google Maps and Android media apps from the in-car Play Store — which Google encouraged developers to make at I/O 2019 — are more straightforward implementations that can be used across all vehicles. According to The Verge, Android Automotive still allows drivers with iPhones to use CarPlay.

Compatible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles will begin adopting Android Automotive in 2021. GM cites “broad deployment” across all brands in the following years.


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