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.

Continental buys Elektrobit Automotive

Continental AG  has purchased Elektrobit Corporation Automotive. The acquisition is expected to help Continental develop more advanced automotive electronics that are a major part of

New Audi tech emergency swerve steering & CarPlay

2015-Audi-A8Audi is gearing up for CES Asia (Shanghai) and released a new video with some interesting demonstrations.

The first noticeable feature seen in the video is CarPlay shown in the Audi with an iPhone connected to the entertainment system. There are also back seat entertainment screen with high speed Internet Wi-Fi hotspots, a digital customized cockpit and a self-driving Audi on a curved highway ramp.

At CES Asia, Chairman Rupert Stadler, Head of Development Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg and Sales Director Luca de Meo will be present a keynote on electronics and megatrends of mobility. Also Audi is showing concept car.

Automotive News reported that there is a new ADAS feature coming from Audi using the powerful zFAS system. The next phase of ADAS safety is that the car is programmed to automatically swerve around an obstacle to avoid collisions.

In order to accomplish such a complicated task, the technology used will have backup systems and sensors in place in case of problems. The new approach will use with the zFAS central controller when it goes into production in two years in the Audi A8.

The zFAS controller incorporates technology form Dephi, NVIDIA Tegra KI and Mobileye.

Audi is also working with leading suppliers such as Bosch, Continental, Valeo and Delphi on the sensors and actuating elements, such as braking and steering systems. Audi wants to develop common standards.

The zFAS electronics board that is about the size of a tablet, is upgradeable and will eventually communicate with the cloud via 4G LTE. The zFas is a central controller while other current driver systems use separate  controllers. zFAS intakes sensor data that the controller uses to compute a view of surroundings and sends the information to different driver assistance systems.

Soon, Audi claims that Audi connect will enable the piloted cars from Audi to also learn continuously as they drive.

An Audi SUV was the first car to drive without a driver across the United States.

The Audi 8 currently can be equipped with adaptive cruise control with stop and go, Audi side assist that alerts when there is vehicle in a blind spot.

This technology is similar to Audi’s swerve technology is Continental’s Emergency Steer Assist (ESA), which automatically brakes and pumps power to the steering torque to help the driver to avoid a collision. TRW developed a similar system with the Technical University of Dortmund. ZF Friedrichshafen AG recently bought TRW. TRW will be incorporated into ZF as a new division called Active & Passive Safety Technology. Hyundai and Nissan are also working on steering assist collision avoidance systems.

It appears that Audi will be making some interesting announcements in Shanghai.