While we heard of how Android has been used by NASA to drive a rocket to space, how Android is running in-flight entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) system of Boeing 878 and we have seen all kinds of gadgets from smartphones and cameras to drones and watches run Android, we haven’t really seen any car maker commit so much to having their cars run by Android until now. Tesla is seemingly heading on to become the first Auto maker to embrace Android as its CEO Elon Musk hinted on the possibility of having a pure Android emulator in its future cars.
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk revealed this during a Q&A in an event in Germany recently. He was quoted asking how a user would run an Android app using the car’s Linux-based front-end. Apparently, Tesla is considering equipping an Android emulator in its Tesla Model S as one of the several app options available. The company expects the system to get additional software that were designed and made even before the final system is chosen including navigation data, adding local data and language and upgrading the car’s in-built browser to Google Chrome. I guess this means that the emulator, which I hope will be Android, will handle and coordinate crucial car systems and not just running apps.
Tesla’s Model S, the car we expect to come with Android onboard, features a 17 inch capacitive touchscreen display or an informainment system that runs on Linux but should have and Android emulator by 2014. The present system features a two-panel UI that is used in navigating and controlling music simultaneously in the car, displaying the car’s energy consumption graph and is a rear view display. Adding the emulator expands the capabilities of the system including running third-party apps, making phone calls, running navigation systems, streaming videos and browsing the internet.
The Automobile industry is one of the fastest technology embracers but up until mid-90s, we were almost certain the transportation industry would turn out like it is in ‘Back to the Future’ with flying saucers but aside from isolated innovations of fuel-free and self-driving cars, we’re pretty much still in 1990s cars with better interiors. If Tesla goes through with plans to have their vehicles equipped with an Android emulator in the car’s dashboard, it will be a step in the direction of having cars running on Android and maybe we will see a lot more machines running Android.
Tesla expects to choose a system and make it open to software developers ‘towards the end of next year’. If this materializes and Android becomes the preferred emulator, such a car will be able to communicate better with other devices and the vehicles will have access to the massive Android mobile apps library as a step towards having an Android powered car of the future.