Today, some cars use Android for their infotainment systems, but they require users to plug in a compatible smartphone. However, an unnamed source tells Reuters that Google is working on a new version of the mobile platform, called Android M, that would integrate much more deeply into vehicles' systems. It would be able to access a car's camera, sensors and fuel gauge, in addition to powering the entertainment and navigation systems without a companion device.
"It provides a much stronger foothold for Google to really be part of the vehicle rather than being an add-on," said Thilo Koslowski, vice president at Gartner.
The sources noted that Google needs to make performance and stability improvements to Android before it could be embedded directly into vehicles. It could also be difficult to convince car makers to use the Android technology.