GM brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to 2016 Chevy/GM models

sparkadndroidautoGM CEO Mary Barra announced at the Code conference in California that GM will be offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on fourteen 2016 Chevy Models. The move makes GM the first major U.S. automaker to offer the smartphone compatible systems across mainstream cars.

The fourteen Chevrolet models include the new 2016 Chevy Cruze compact car, that will arrive June 24. It is about one year, after GM was first the automaker to deploy OnStar 4G LTE across many models and the 2015 Chevy Cruze.

“It’s been a partnership of working together with the aim of creating a system where the driver is not distracted,” Barra said.

The seven-inch screen MyLink infotainment systems on the Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Camaro and Silverado, will at first be compatible with CarPlay and Android Auto. The eight-inch version of MyLink will be compatible only with Apple CarPlay at the beginning of the 2016 model year. Android Auto which is still in testing may be available on eight-inch versions of MyLink later in the 2016 model year.

“We made the smartphone experience relative to the car. We’re taking buttons and making them larger. We’re integrating a lot of use of voice in the applications. We’re making sure that whatever happens int he car passes our distracted driving guidelines,” said Phil Abram chief infotainment officer at GM.

Models with eight-inch screens include Cruze, Malibu, Impala, Volt, Camaro, Corvette, Colorodo, Silverado, Tahoe and Suburban. CarPlay and Android Auto will not replace the existing Chevy MyLink systems but are a part of the system. For both CarPlay and Android Auto, many features can be controlled via voice commands by a button on the steering wheel.

An icon on the MyLink changes to show that either CarPlay or Android Auto when a compatible smartphone is connected via the USB port. Android Auto requires a phone running  Android Lollipop 5.0, while Apple CarPlay requires an iPhone 5 or later with iOS 8.

Apple CarPlay is compatible with about 82% of iPhones and allows for voice calls, sending/receiving messages and music listening from the iPhone from the touchscreen or by holding the steering wheel button and asking Siri. 

Current CarPlay apps listed include Podcasts, Beats Music, iHeart Radio, At Bat, Spotify, Stitcher, CBS Radio, Rdio and Apple Maps gives turn-by-turn directions, traffic conditions and estimated travel times. It suggests address from your contacts and calendars.

Android Auto allows for use of an Android smartphone with Google Maps, Google Now, messaging, phone calling and Google Play Music. There are some compatibility issues with Android Lollipop 5.0 models on certain carriers.

Android Auto’s first car deployment is through a software update at dealers for Hyundai Sonatas with the navigation package. Chevrolet Brazil, Mexico and Canada car owners will also have access CarPlay and Android Auto in the future.

“We’ll see more change in the last five to 10 years than we saw in the last 50,” said Barra.

Also at the conference was Apple Senior VP Jeff Williams who said “The car is the ultimate mobile device…We’re exploring a lot of different markets.”

There will be no software updates for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for pre-2016 Chevy models.

IHS Automotive forecasts for the three primary systems for 2015 and will be MirrorLink, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. By 2020, there are expected to be 31 million cars with Android Auto.

Android Auto in 45 minutes 4 2015Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai announced today, that the update for compatible Hyundai Sonatas to Android Auto is available at Hyundai dealers for free. Hyundai is the first automaker

Audi Q7 – packed with connected car tech: ADAS, CarPlay, Android Auto, tablet, LTE & phone box

Audi Back Seat Tablet
Audi Q7 Back Seat Tablet

Audi announced the 2016 Audi Q7 at the International Auto Show in Detroit which has many state of the art connected car features, such as a new interface, head up display, phone connector box, ADAS, almost autonomous driving packages, new voice controls and 10 inch tablets for back seat passengers.

audivirtualcockpitThe user interface has been streamline with haptic feedback. The driver can enter characters on the large touchpad or perform multi-finger gestures to zoom in on the map or scroll through lists. Functions can be accessed using a rotary push button and two rocker switches.

There are new multifunction steering wheels buttons. Depending on the equipment installed, telephone and navigation functions can also be controlled via the steering wheel.

New voice functions understand hundreds of voice command variations are possible for calling and radio and Media

Driver-relevant information is displayed in the new Q7 in a  instrument cluster. The 7-inch color display places everything from the current radio station to the navigation map to the display from the optional night vision assistant directly in the field of view.

The optional MMI navigation plus is also available with the Audi virtual cockpit, a 12.3-inch TFT display that presents tack-sharp, painstakingly rendered graphics.

The new Q7 is equipped with the second generation of the modular infotainment platform (MIB)  which includes a quad-core T30 processor from Audi’s partner NVIDIA for 3D graphics.

Audi offers various levels of the infotainment modules for the new Q7. The MMI radio plus is standard in Germany. This offers interfaces for external devices such as mobile phones or memory cards.

Displays are shown on a central, 7-inch MMI monitor that rises up from the instrument panel when the system is started.

The high-end infotainment control center is the MMI navigation plus, which has an 8.3-inch monitor.

Another upgrade is Bose sound system with 3D sound and the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 3D sound fascinate even discerning hi-fi users.

The Audi phone box, connects the cell phone to the car’s cellular phone antenna. Inductive charging and wireless smartphone connection will be available as additional functions shortly after the launch of the new Audi Q7.

Audiq7carPlayThe Audi smartphone interface brings “Apple Car Play” and “Google Android Auto” on board. If an iOS or Android cellular phone is connected to the USB port (iOS from Version 7.1; Android from Version 5.0 Lollipop).

Buyers have the optional choice of one or two Audi Android tablets with 10.1 inch screen, 32GB of storage, HD cameras, Bluetooth and NFCserve as rear seat monitors. The tablets are temperature-resistant and rugged for crash safety. The Audi tablets are connected to the MMI navigation plus via WiF with access to the radio, media, navigation and car functions of the Audi Q7. For those who are wondering why Germans love tablets in the back seat, it is because many Audi’s have chauffeurs or drivers. The rugged tablet may be strong enough for teenager or kids, too.

MMI navigation plus also includes the module Audi connect, which connects the new Audi Q7 to the Internet via 4G LTE.

Standard ADAS features are the rear parking aid, cruise control, adjustable speed limiter, rest recommendation and Audi pre sense city. At city speeds it warns the driver of impending collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians and will initiate heavy braking in an emergency

Optional ADAS add-ons are bundled in the packages “Parking”, “City” and “Tour”.

  • “Parking Package”– includes the surround view camera and park assist system, which  steers the car backwards into parallel and perpendicular parking spots while the driver applies gas and brakes.
  • City Package” – with cross-traffic assist warns the driver of other vehicles when driving slowly in reverse.Trailer assistant for steering of trailers.  Audi side assist measurements behind the car to ensure safe lane changes. Audi pre sense rear tensions the seat belts in the event of an impending collision from behind.
  • Tour Package” – is the precursor to autonomous driving with  adaptive cruise control that keeps the Q7 at the desired distance from the vehicle ahead. It displays the distance when it is deactivated. ACC stop & go including traffic jam assistant, takes over the steering on developed highways if traffic congested and not moving faster than 65 km/h (40.4 mph). Audi active lane assist uses a camera and small steering interventions to help the driver to stay in a lane.  Audi pre sense front warns of an impending rear-end collision with the vehicle ahead, tightens the belts and brakes the car autonomously.

Also available as an option is the night vision assistant.

The 2016 Audi Q7 should be available late 2016, pricing has not been announced, yet, Pricing expected to at least $50k or more depending upon the add-on packages which could range from $2,000 -$3,000 each.