Over 400 car models support Android Auto, but they require that you connect a smartphone. At I/O, we saw it as a built-in feature on a concept Dodge Ram.
What happens when you fully install Android in a car? We got a glimpse at I/O this week, where Google incorporated a standalone version of Android Auto into a Dodge Ram vehicle’s system.
Android Auto currently works as a mobile app that transforms your smartphone into a driver-friendly assistant. With it, you can pull up directions, make phone calls and listen to music by issuing voice commands or via the touch screen.
Android Auto also works on a vehicle’s built-in display. Over 400 models support the Google software, but they all require that you connect a smartphone. At I/O, Android Auto was a built-in feature on the concept Dodge Ram.
The car’s touch screen is huge and has enough space to show a map, the weather, your music, and reminders from the Google Assistant—all large enough to read.
Although it may be tempting to play with the giant touch screen, the Android system will shift into a “quick-settings” mode when you’re on the road, and limit access to certain functions.
To really get the most out of the system, you’ll have to use voice commands. For instance, the car’s onboard Google Assistant can help you respond to text messages; the assistant reads them aloud, and you can dictate a response.
By fully integrating Android into a car, other functions can potentially be controlled via voice command, Google said. For instance, we activated the Dodge Ram’s air conditioning by saying, “Turn on the AC.”
Unfortunately, the Android-equipped Dodge Ram is only a concept. But Google is trying to entice automakers to make it a reality. This week, Volvo said it’ll incorporate a built-in Android-based car system to new vehicles launching in 2020. Time will tell if other automakers do the same.