2015 Hyundai Sonata is first vehicle to feature Google’s Android Auto

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 1, 2015

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata is the first vehicle to feature Google Inc.’s new Android Auto interface. This is a huge achievement for Hyundai, which had worked hard to be the first to offer a system that may be available in countless vehicles in the near future as consumers look for cars that work with their smartphones.

It’s also a tremendous win for Google, which has gotten ahead of rival Apple Inc, which offers CarPlay as the iPhone interface. Hyundai’s senior manager Cason Grover, who works on connected-car technology, is confident that once customers try Android Auto once, they won’t be willing to not have it in their cars again.

As an example, he mentioned that as he entered his car to go to a business trip, Android Auto asked him if his destination is at the airport so that the trip can be set there. The system understood that his flight was leaving within two hours after it accessed his Google calendar. Grover added that it won’t take too long before this system will become “a ubiquitous technology in the industry.”

He said that by being early, Hyundai will have something that will differentiate it from others for quite some time. He believes that customers will quickly realize the benefits and will actively look for a vehicle that features this technology. In early 2014, the Android Auto project was launched with the coming together of Hyundai, Audi, General Motors, and Honda to join a Google-led group known as the Open Automotive Alliance.

Last June, Google presented Android Auto at its I/O developer conference. Google described it as a “safer, easier way” to listen to music apps, make calls on the phone, and use Google’s mapping service while driving. In addition, this system supports several third-party apps like Spotify streaming music service. It doesn’t stop there as more apps are coming. It’s easy to use Android Auto.

The user will just have to physically plug a smartphone into the dashboard. When the Android Auto icon lights up on the car’s screen, the smartphone’s screen is locked, reducing the temptation to tinker with it while driving. Numerous automakers have made a deal to use Android Auto. It’s expected that within one year, Ford, GM, Honda and Volkswagen will start selling cars with this interface.

The Sonata is the first car to already have Android Auto installed in it fresh from the showroom but since March, the interface was already available in Pioneer’s aftermarket navigation systems. It took some time for the system to be in the production cars for different reasons. The cars had to undergo rigorous quality checks and it was difficult to make a change on an assembly line mid-year.

However, if you’re an Apple fan, you can opt for your Sonata to have CarPlay, Apple’s in-car interface for the iPhone. This will be available soon, according to Grover. Sonata buyers must get Hyundai’s 8-inch navigation screen sold as part of a technology package if they want to have Android Auto in their vehicle.

This raises the Sonata’s base price from $21,975 to at least $27,450 (which includes shipping costs). Those who already have 2015 Sonata with the navigation system can go to a dealership to receive a free software update to activate Android Auto. Hyundai may have Android Auto available online so that Sonata owners could download the update and install it themselves.

Press Release

All-New Integration Available on Best-Selling Sonata

First car company to launch Android Auto on production vehicles, starting with the 2015 Sonata with Navigation

Free Android Auto software update available for current owners of 2015 Sonatas with Navigation
Android Auto reduces driver distraction by integrating the driver's smartphone with the vehicle's screen and controls

Fountain Valley, Calif., May 26, 2015 – Today, Hyundai becomes the first car company to launch Android Auto™ on production vehicles. Android Auto is premiering on the 2015 Sonata with Navigation at dealerships nationwide, and will later become available on other Hyundai models.

"Android Auto aligns with Hyundai's core interior design principles of safety, intuitiveness and simplicity," said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. "We launched this highly anticipated feature on our best-selling Sonata, adding to our promise of value. With the launch of Android Auto, we provide more owners with the experience of cutting-edge technology."

Android Auto not only brings a high technology experience to Hyundai owners, but also improves safety. For example, at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.1 Android Auto helps keep drivers' eyes and attention on the road by integrating the advanced driving-related functions of the user's smartphone with the familiar centralized screen, physical controls and microphone of their car. Furthermore, the smartphone's screen becomes "locked," so drivers are not tempted to look down and interact with their phones directly while Android Auto is in use.

AVAILABILITY FOR EXISTING OWNERS

Owners of existing 2015 Sonata with Navigation can get the Android Auto software update free of charge at Hyundai dealers starting today. Later this summer, owners can visit www.hyundaiusa.com/myhyundai and download the Android Auto software onto a USB memory drive. Owners will need a MyHyundai account to start the Android Auto download. A MyHyundai account requires name, address and a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Once the USB with the Android Auto software is inserted into their Sonata's USB port, it will automatically update the vehicle's Navigation system to make it Android Auto compatible. The Android Auto compatible Navigation system with an eight-inch touchscreen display is available on the Sonata Sport, Eco, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T models.

ANDROID AUTO

Owners will need the Android 5.0 "Lollipop" operating system or later, and the Android Auto companion app on their compatible phone to integrate Android Auto into Sonata's screen and controls. A micro USB cable is required to connect the phone to the car's USB port. The first time an owner plugs his or her phone into their parked Sonata, the phone will prompt the download of the Android Auto companion app from the Google Play. Users of Android Auto will instantly recognize familiar Android phone applications, such as Google Maps, Google Now, messaging, phone calling and Google Play Music upon connecting their Android phone to their Hyundai vehicle. These applications can be controlled by voice, steering wheel controls and touchscreen. Android Auto also will offer many popular third-party audio apps that owners have on their phones, including iHeartRadio, Spotify, TuneIn, NPR, Stitcher, Skype, TextMe and many more. Owners can find out up-to-date information about phone compatibility at https://support.google.com/androidauto.

Advantages of Android Auto

The Google Now card-based experience provides suggested locations and travel times based on the user's searches, calendar entries and home and office locations, as well as weather information and "now playing" information for music streamed via the phone

App software (navigation, streaming music, etc.) is automatically updated because the apps live on the phone

Natural voice recognition with Google voice actions

Owners can easily bring their personal reminders, suggested destinations, calendar appointments and music preferences with them when they get in their car

Android Auto automatically pairs with the Sonata for phone calls through Bluetooth when connected for the first time via USB

Android Auto has familiar interfaces that are easy to use and have almost no learning curve

2015 HYUNDAI SONATA

The all-new seventh-generation 2015 Sonata offers a more refined look through a new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language, stiffer body structure, better ride quality, reduced noise, vibration and harshness, and advanced safety and convenience features. Sonata truly democratizes the premium design and convenient technology of the Genesis sedan for the mid-size class. The new 2015 Hyundai Sonata is built at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in Montgomery, Ala.

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