Google wants to personalize and enhance the driving experience more than ever via its Android Automotive embedded operating system, and a big part of the excitement at its Google I/O 2018 developers’ conference this week is around its plans for the connected car, particularly around AI and voice-powered experiences.
Previewing what’s next for Android Auto, Google executives talked up visual templates for car dashboards that feature “a fresh new design [that] enables media apps to make their content more accessible,” as announced at I/O. The goal is to make browsable content visible as soon as an app is opened on the car dashboard.
Ready for a completely driverless taxi cab? Riders in the Phoenix area will have the chance to summon a fully autonomous, self-driving vehicle when Google’s Waymo launches its ride-sharing service later this year, the company announced.
Waymo launched a pilot program last year, but has until now relied on vehicles that still have “operators” ready to take control in an emergency. And volunteers got to use the service for free. With the approval of Arizona regulators, it will soon start charging riders who will be able to summon a vehicle using a smartphone app, much like competitors such as Uber and Lyft. Those new vans will operate driverlessly.
“As we continue to test-drive our fleet of vehicles in greater Phoenix, we’re taking all the steps necessary to launch our commercial service this year,” a Waymo spokesman said.