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  • Hyundai First With Android Auto Technology
  • 08 June 2015
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    Hyundai First With Android Auto Technology

    Hyundai has become the first car manufacturer to add Android Auto technology to its new models...

Hyundai has become the first car manufacturer to add Android Auto technology to its new models. If you’re the owner of a 2015 Sonata, you’ll soon be able to ask your dealer to download the system for free. The offer is currently available only in the US, but a global rollout is anticipated in the coming months.  

So what’s Android Auto? It connects to the driver's smartphone, giving them access to Google apps such as Google Maps, using voice, dashboard touchscreen or steering-wheel controls. The Korean manufacturer has said it will offer the system in 28 brands by next year.

Hyundai, with sister company Kia the world's fifth-largest car group, is also planning to offer CarPlay, Apple's equivalent, soon as well.

The move is a major step forward in car safety. A Hyundai spokesperson said, "The smartphone's screen becomes locked, so drivers are not tempted to look down and interact with their phones directly while Android Auto is in use".

Speaking to the BBC, Wee Teck Loo, Head of Consumer Electronics at Euromonitor International, said that Google would have a major advantage in emerging car markets such as India, with its 85% smartphone bias towards android. He said, "Hyundai's Sonata is a mid-range sedan and its target consumer demographics would not be the 5% of the smartphone users who use iPhones.”

Owners will simply download the software onto a USB stick. Updates to the car’s navigation system will happen automatically once it’s inserted in the car. Provided owners have Android Lollipop 5.0 plus the Android Auto app on their phone, connection should be instant once the user plugs in their phone.

In a series of promotional videos, Google has shown how maps, music and Google Now cards will show on the car's built-in screen. Music comes through Google Play or your smartphone’s music library, while voice control enables navigation through Google Maps and the ability to ‘write’ and reply to messages. Some models will even come with a voice-activation button on the wheel. With others, it’s simply a case of saying 'OK, Google.'

Apple's CarPlay system is very similar. It starts simply by plugging in an iPhone (5 and upwards) and comes with Siri Eyes-Free. Through Siri, drivers can use voice commands to make calls, access contacts, hear voicemail and return missed calls.

While you’re waiting for Android Auto to reach these shores, why not get down to Howards Group’s showrooms in Yeovil and test drive any of the Hyundai range?

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