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Why Do Apple and Google Want In On the Automotive Industry?

apple-vs-google” (CC BY 2.0) by Kim Støvring 

Two Giants of the Tech Industry

Apple and Google are two of the largest technology providers in the world. Their products include search engines, web hosting, handheld devices, operating systems, business solutions and much more. Until recently, the ever expanding automotive information market has gone untouched by these two tech giants. Google has been content to let their Android OS do the talking in vehicles, rather than building a dedicated infotainment system for manufacturers. Apple finds itself in a similar position, with iPhone holding the largest market share in handheld devices. Both of these companies stand ready to make a powerful entry into the automotive market.

The Apple iCar

Apple Car si avvicina: c’è una prova clamorosa!” (CC BY 2.0) by Automobile Italia

In the coming years, Apple has made it clear they will strive to be a force in the Automative connectivity market. In addition to this, Apple intends to produce their own fully electric vehicle to bring to market by 2020, an ambitious goal given the short time-frame. Most vehicles take up to 10 years to build from concept to production, but if Apple’s claims are to be believed they intend to do so in less than seven.

Apple is already a player when it comes to in-car entertainment. Their Apple Carplay system is used in a number of manufacturers vehicles already, including Porsche, Ford, Chevrolet, BMW, Volkswagen and many more. The Apple Carplay system is more than just maps and music, it’s complete connectivity of the phone to the vehicle. Voice, internet, email, entertainment and more can be accessed through the car’s in-dash infotainment system and allows for full control of all phone and vehicle features within the system.

The Apple Car is also well underway, with Apple investing into the research and development of battery technology on a wide-scale. They’ve already stated their goal in bringing a car to market by 2020, and it seems they intend to deliver on that promise. When the Apple Car finally does arrive, it’s likely to perform at similar specifications to offerings from Tesla and other electric-vehicle manufacturers.

The Google Self-Driving Car

Google Self-Driving Car(CC BY 2.0) by smoothgroover22

Google has been a cornerstone in mobile internet hardware in cars for years, thanks to their Android OS, but Google is interested in doing so much more in the automotive space. Similar to Apple, Google has already created a fully integrated infotainment system, called Android Automotive. Many car manufacturers already use an Android base OS in their cars infotainment systems, as its open-source design is easy to adapt and customize to fit the vehicle’s needs. The Android Automotive system goes a step further by creating a fully integrated infotainment package that includes apps, vehicle safety monitoring, internet and phone connectivity and more.

Google doesn’t plan to stop there. While there is no intended release date due to the technology involved, Google has announced their plans to build a self driving vehicle of their own to market to consumers. This Google self-driving tech is already well underway near Google’s headquarters in California, with prototypes already being tested . Among a large list of potential advantages, such as reducing the number of car crashes each year and making auto insurance cheaper, there are also a number of distinct disadvantages. It remains to be seen whether these automated vehicles can stand up to scrutiny on the road, and a number of ethical concerns regarding the self-driving software will still need to be answered before the vehicles can be offered to consumers.

How much success is too much?

Only time will tell if these entries into the automotive market will be successful. Both companies have ambitious and aggressive goals for their vehicle projects, and both have already seen huge successes when it comes to in-car entertainment. The lingering question becomes whether or not Apple’s electric vehicle can stand up to its already established competitors, and if the Google self-driving car can overcome the huge hurdles standing in its way. Consumers will have to wait until the next decade to answer these questions for themselves.

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