After having announced the introduction of Skype for Business in its 90 Series vehicles, Volvo this week revealed new partnerships with Google and Audi that will see Android 7.0 Nougat become the basis of the automakers' infotainment systems.
However, the integration of the Android OS will go further than just being used for media playback and control and the smartphone projection capabilities found in Android Auto. While being given the obvious task of driving the primary touchscreen installed in designated vehicles, Google's operating system will also manage a range of basic in-car functions such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), power windows, sunroofs, and seat controls. In fact, Android will go as far as powering the driver's digital dashboard but will stop short of handling safety-critical functions, such as the brakes.
In terms of release information, Audi indicated that it will unveil its Android-based system in the forthcoming Audi Q8 Sport concept while Volvo more generally advised that it "will launch on new Volvo models within two years." Audi also added that drivers will have the choice between using Google Maps or its own HERE-powered navigation solution, which the company, along with BMW and Daimler, had bought from Nokia for $3 billion back in 2015.
However, with the issue of fragmentation plaguing the Android platform, it remains to be seen if the two automakers may instead target Android O, rather than Nougat, given the efforts of Project Treble to decouple OS updates from hardware-specific code maintenance activities.