Android has been powering car stereos for years in different forms in fashions, and many cars on the road today like my 2018 Honda CR-V run thir infotainment systems on an Android head unit, but the versions of Android used here are older, and they require a large amount of modification to run properly. Google has been working on building better Android infotainment systems for years, and the fruits of its labor may finally be in sight.
Volve has announced that its upcoming Polestar 2 — an all-electric vehicle designed to compete with the Tesla Model 3 — will have the “world debut” of a new “Android HMI” infotainment system. The press release touting this achievement mentions that this will also be the debut of in-car Google Assistant, as well.
“Well, wait a second, I’ve had Google Assistant in my car for years!” Yes, you have, through Android Auto, which runs on your phone and extends to your vehicle’s infotainment system on some compatible head units, but this is Google Assistant that will be run directly by the Android running the infotainment system, not reliant on you plugging in a phone to do the work for it. Of course, Google Assistant would require an internet connection, but the car may have one built-in, as the Polestar 2 is going to be “available on subscription” rather than mostly being a traditional finance/purchase.
That said, even though the press release says that the Polestar 2 will be the first, the vehicle will not be available in 2019. Volvo “will launch Polestar 2 in the second half of 2019 and production will begin around the start of 2020,”* and that’s a long time for a vehicle from other Google partnerships such as Alliance 2022 to reach the roads first.