From next year, future Hondas will get a huge tech upgrade.
Google's Android Automotive is one of the best infotainment systems around. Operating like an Android smartphone, it's fast, responsive, and intuitive to use, with easy access to Google apps. Unfortunately, the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge are the only cars you can currently buy with the Android-powered system, but this will soon change.
Earlier this year, Ford signed a six-year deal with Google that will bring Android Automotive to millions of its cars starting in 2023. Future General Motors models will also feature the Android-powered infotainment system, starting with the Hummer EV later this year.
Now, Honda is expanding its partnership with Google to offer Android Automotive in future cars as standard.
The first Honda with the Android-powered system will go on sale in the US in the second half of 2022. This will be an “all-new model”, but Honda hasn't specified which model will get the Android-powered infotainment system first. Potentially, it could be the new Honda HR-V coming next year designed specifically for the US market. After this, Honda will begin rolling out models with Android Automotive globally.
Honda has collaborated with Google since 2015 to bring Android Auto support to the Accord in 2016. But whereas Android Auto requires a smartphone to project the interface onto the infotainment system, the Android Automotive operating system comes with built-in Google apps including the Google Voice assistant.
Working with Google Maps, the voice assistant allows occupants to get directions and send messages, as well as control media, vehicle functions and smart phone devices hands-free. Additional apps can also be downloaded from the Google Play store to add music, podcast, and audiobook services.
“It is our great pleasure to be able to offer new value for mobility and people's daily lives all around the world by combining Honda's strengths in advanced technologies in automobile development and Google's strengths in innovative information technologies,” said Satoshi Takami, head of Honda's Mobility-as-a-Service operations. Honda will continue to take on challenges to create new value while rapidly addressing the transformation of mobility without being bound by the conventional wisdom of the automobile industry.”