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Hyundai Blue Link-enabled cars can now be voice-commanded remotely via Google Home

Now, you can control your car from the safety of your home. That is if you’re using Google Assistant-powered Google Home and your car is any of the Blue Link-enabled vehicles from South Korean carmaker Hyundai.

Hyundai will be unveiling at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show the seamless integration between its Blue Link Agent and the Google Assistant – allowing customers to connect with their Hyundai cars even though they are in the confines of their house doing some household chores. This integration is made possible through Google Home, a voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant.

Through this small device, users could voice-command Google Assistant to do a number of functions. For instance, a user may voice-command Google Assistant to activate and control smart home devices. Moreover, a user may also voice-command Google Assistant activate streaming music services. Now that it has been integrated with Blue Link Agent, Google Assistant could now be used to activate cars. Yes, users could voice-command Google Assistant – without going inside a Blue Link-enabled vehicle – to remote start their Hyundai units or even remote lock them. All a user should do is to start the command phrase with “Ok Google” and tell it to send a request to Blue Link.

Read the entire article Hyundai Blue Link-enabled cars can now be voice-commanded remotely via Google Home

Waymo provides glimpse of its fully autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans

Just days after Google’s autonomous vehicle project became an autonomous tech company dubbed as Waymo Inc., the company now unveiled its first fully self-driving vehicles in the guise of 100 driverless Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.

Back in May 2016, Waymo – then known as the Google Self-Driving Project – and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles entered into a partnership in which the carmaker would provide a number of vehicles to the project. The partners saw it fitting to choose Chrysler’s new 2017 Pacifica Hybrid minivans – 100 of them -- for the self-driving vehicle project. The Pacifica Hybrid minivans were specifically built by Chrysler to be fitted with the latest of Google’s hardware and software.

While these Chrysler Pacifica units are based on the 2017 production model available to the market, the carmaker modified them – including their chassis, powertrain, structural and electrical systems – so that Waymo could properly install its own technology into these new minivans.

Read the entire article Waymo provides glimpse of its fully autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans

Google Self-Driving Project now a separate company as Waymo under Alphabet umbrella

Google’s autonomous vehicle project has become an autonomous tech company. Here comes Waymo, a company with utmost focus on self-driving technology. Starting off as a project inside the tech company eight years, Waymo has now become a standalone business under Alphabet Inc. – the corporate parent of Google -- with an aim to commercialize its self-driving technology and build related products with it.

However, it seems that Google’s strategy for its self-driving unit actually involves a slim-down of its operations – similar to what Apple has done to its own autonomous car project. Apple has said that it was refocusing its energy from building self-driving cars to just creating self-driving technology. It was really a goodbye for Apple’s Project Titan, although the tech giant has not explicitly admitted that it was seeking to build a self-driving.

As for the formerly Google Self-Driving Project, now Waymo – which stands for a new Way forward in Mobility – the path it is treading seems similar to Apple’s. A report by The Information says that Waymo would not build its own self-driving vehicle, even though it – when it was still a project -- already unveiled its and the world’s first fully self-driven car in October 2015.

Read the entire article Google Self-Driving Project now a separate company as Waymo under Alphabet umbrella

Daimler CEO says Apple and Google are getting nearer to making a self-driving car

It seems that tech giants Apple and Google are progressing on automotive projects faster than the top honcho of German carmaker Daimler had assumed. Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche told German weekly Welt am Sonntag that Silicon Valley companies that are working to develop a self-driving car seemed to know and can do more than assumed.

He noted that these companies have more respect for Daimler’s achievements than they thought. Google is currently testing prototype vehicles and is seeking partners from the auto industry, the company car’s project leader John Krafcik recently told the Automotive News World Congress.

There were also rumors that Apple is working on a vehicle, but the company did not confirm any speculations. In response to Google’s car project, Mercedes-Benz developed an S-class sedan that managed to drive 103 km (64 miles) sans any driver input.

Read the entire article Daimler CEO says Apple and Google are getting nearer to making a self-driving car

Smartphones are now able to link to vehicle infotainment systems but automakers will be controlling the data that technology partners such as Apple and Google can get access to. Automakers are starting to find ways to monetize the information generated from these systems. They have the potential to gain billions of dollars in e-commerce.

Smartphone use has already generated money for Apple and Google. They offer different products and services, ranging from digital music to targeted advertising. But with the linking of phones and car systems like with Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto, they will be able to extend their reach even farther.

However, auto companies want to limit what tech providers are able to access. Computer systems in cars are capable of acquiring a ton of possibly profitable information. Several automakers have stated that data from the functional systems of the car won’t be given to Apple and Google. Examples are data on steering, throttle, and brakes.

Read the entire article Auto companies to limit in-vehicle data accessible to Apple, Google

Audi cited how internet-assisted driving may put passenger privacy at risk as a reason for saying no to Google’s invitation to be a partner. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler told executives via a speech last Tuesday that a car is private as it’s seen today as a “second living room.” He believes that the customer is the only person who needs access to the data onboard.

It’s apparent from Stadler’s comments that Audi, as well as the other German automakers, have been harbouring concerns on data protection as they work to create platforms that compete with Google when it comes to Internet-assisted motoring. He explained that what customers don’t want to be “exploited” as a car owner.

Rather, they want to control their data and not be monitored. At the same event, Eric Schmidt (the chairman of Google) said that it has been a year since the company has entered an “Automobile Alliance" with Audi, Opel and Volkswagen. Schmidt pointed out that Google is undertaking this with partners and that specifically, it is working with a “whole infrastructure” in Germany.

Read the entire article Audi turns down Google’s invitation due to worries about privacy

Daimler AG chief executive Dieter Zetsche believes that tech companies like Google would not become volume carmakers, even if they could possibly disrupt the auto industry that is becoming more focused on software and automated driving.

Just in the past few years, carmakers and tech firms based in Silicon Valley companies have become more inter-dependent, mainly because the development of next-generation cars requires development of advanced software and sensors.

Zetsche remarked that Google’s objective in unveiling an advanced self-driving car in 2014 might be to get a better understanding on how cars are used, instead of becoming a carmaker itself. "Google and the likes want to get involved, I don’t think in the first place to build vehicles," Zetsche said.

Read the entire article Daimler CEO says Google won’t become a volume carmaker

Uber, the app-based transportation company, may soon find one of its biggest investors as one of its largest rivals. Google Ventures, the tech giant's venture capital arm, invested $258 million in Uber in August 2013 and injected more less than a year later. As part of the investment, David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer and senior vice president of corporate development, has been on Uber’s board of directors since 2013.

Google is currently getting ready to roll out its own Uber-like service, probably in conjunction with its driverless car project. Drummond has alredy informed Uber's board of this possibility, according to a person privy to the board.

Likewise, Uber executives have already seen screenshots of what seems to be a ride-sharing app used by Google employees. The source told Bloomberg that the Uber board is now trying to decide whether to ask Drummond to step down from his post.

Read the entire article Uber faces competition challenge from investor Google

Roush Industries Inc., an engineering and specialty manufacturing company, has been tapped to assemble a fleet of 100 prototypes of Google Inc.’s two-seater self-driving electric cars. Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving cars program, remarked at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit that the tech giant did not contract with a carmaker for the project, although the production version of the self-driving car would involve an automaker.

Roush, known for its custom Ford Mustang models, has leased additional space at 28220 Plymouth Road in Livonia and refurbished it for the project, Maureen Crowley, director of corporate communications, told Crain’s Detroit Business.

According to Crowley, Roush has hired more people in supply chain support and assembly. In July 2013, the Michigan Strategic Fund awarded Roush a $1 million performance-based grant to expand space at a number of sites in suburban Detroit.

Read the entire article Google taps Roush Industries to build self-driving car prototype

Google Inc. has commenced working on a version of Android that will be built directly into vehicles, sources told Reuters. While the current Android Auto software requires an Android smartphone to be plugged into a compatible car with a built-in screen to access the Internet and a number of installed apps, the version in works allow drivers to use all those features even without plugging in their smartphones.

According to the sources, Google plans to provide details for its plans for placing Android Auto directly into cars when it introduces the next Android M operating system within at least a year.

Thilo Koslowski, vice president and Automotive Practice Leader of industry research firm Gartner, remarked that the built-in Android Auto would provide “a much stronger foothold” for Google to become part of the vehicle instead of being just an add-on.

Read the entire article Google working on built-in Android OS in vehicles

As we announced it here, Google revealed today at the I/O Developer Conference the Android Auto, its brand new in-car control system developed for smartphones, to rival Apple’s CarPlay. First of all, we don’t see the new Android Auto as a rival to Apple CarPlay, but as a way to reduce the risk of accidents because you may already know, people are distracted during driving by their smartphones.

Google’s Android Auto is completely voice-enabled, which means that the driver can keep its hands on the steering wheel and his eyes on the road. Known as Google Auto Link during the development stage, the Android Auto promises to be the first product arriving from the Open Automotive Alliance a.k.a. a group led by Google that includes carmakers such as Audi, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai as well as the well-known chipmaker Nvidia.

According to Google, the Android Auto is a projected system and not an embedded operating system. This means that the smartphones using the Android operating system can be plugged into the car and the driver can access its features using the controls found on the steering wheel but also via the display screen.

Read the entire article Google introduces the Android Auto in-car control system to take on Apple CarPlay [w/video]

Google Inc. is unveiling its first in-car operating system at its annual Google I/O conference, set for June 25 and 26 in San Francisco, three people briefed on the project told Automotive News. The system -- known internally as Google Auto Link (GAL) during development -- will be the first fruit of the Open Automotive Alliance, a group of companies that include Google, Audi AG, General Motors Co., Honda Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Group and NVIDIA Corp.

According to the source, GAL is not an embedded infotainment system, but a “projected” system that allows a user to control the Android-based smartphones through the car’s own controls and display screen.

The sources said Google will not disclose yet which model would use GAL first. During the announcement of the creation of the Open Automotive Alliance in January, the group said it would bring the Android OS to cars starting this year.

Read the entire article Google to unveil its first in-car OS at 2014 I/O conference, will rival Apple CarPlay

As you may know already, Google is working on its self-driving car project since 2009 and it appears that a new phase started today as the company unveiled its own autonomous vehicle prototypes. The new vehicles are not fitted with a steering wheel or a gas/brake pedals and are powered by an electric motor that offers a top speed limited at 25 mph or 40 km/h.

Google will build around 100 test vehicles and will begin testing them this summer. Still, early versions will be fitted with manual vehicle controls and according to the official press release the models will be tested by company’s safety drivers.

Since 2009, Google says that its test fleet of autonomous managed to cover 700,000 miles. The new vehicles are about the same size of a Smart ForTwo and feature two seats and two doors.

Read the entire article Google unveils its autonomous vehicle prototype [w/video]

Volvo Car Group and Google Inc. have commenced testing self-driving cars on city streets – considered as crucial stage en route to the autonomous driving technology a standard in vehicles. Volvo said in a statement that it has commenced testing 100 cars on the streets near its Gothenburg base in Sweden under a project dubbed "Drive Me."

Erik Coelingh, technical specialist at Volvo, said in the statement that the test cars can now handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic -- all by themselves, He remarked the tests represent an important step onto developing ‘Drive Me’ that could drive the whole test route in highly autonomous mode.

The technology – to be dubbed as Autopilot – allows the driver to let the vehicle do all the driving. Google said in a post on its official blog that in the past it has shifted its focus to city-street driving.

Read the entire article Volvo and Google start testing self-driving cars on city roads

It seems that Honda and Acura and their dealers are competing against each other for Google shoppers. Similar case could happen when dealers and brands bid for the same keywords generating the most visible ad positions on top of a Google search for a vehicle. According to Brian Pasch, whose PCG Consulting helps dealers with digital marketing, the dealer-brand rivalry can push up Google ad prices.

At a recent national dealer meeting, Honda executives told its dealers they were searching for ways to minimize overlap on Google advertising buys between each other. In the past month, Pasch made waves by saying that Acura mulls barring dealers from bidding on five popular keywords and phrases on Google: Acura, Acura.com, Acura USA, Acura Cars and Acura Auto – in order to limit the prices.

He remarked that Acura’s strategy would unintentionally allow rivals and third-party shopping sites like cars.com, to get ad positions on top of Acura vehicle search listings, which currently are lorded by the brand and its dealers. Two of every three visitors to a dealer Web site are led from a Google link.

Read the entire article Honda and Acura fight vs dealers over Google search keywords

With the upcoming release of Google Glass to consumers this year, a few carmakers are already planning to integrate the wearable devices into their infotainment systems. Such plans could determine whether Google Glass is a clever and effective way of transmitting collision warnings to the driver or is a potential distraction on the road.

At the recent International Consumer Electronics Show, carmakers and other companies unveiled a number of uses for wearable devices like Google Glass. For instance, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz plans to integrate the device into their infotainment systems this year. Harman International, meanwhile, is developing an app that would use the Google Glass to display collision warnings. For Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz, Google Glass is a device that could only be worn before or after a trip but not while a vehicle is cruising on the road.

In 2013, Mercedes-Benz executives said Google Glass could serve as a navigation aid that could be integrated with a vehicle's mapping system. Before a trip, a driver could download their destination from Google Glass into the vehicle's navigation system. Once the driver arrives at the parking lot, he could use Google Glass to locate his destination on foot.

Read the entire article Carmakers explore Google Glass’ compatibility with vehicles

Owners of the new Hyundai Genesis sedan could use Google Glass for “pre-drive” operations like remote starts and route planning, according to Hyundai Motor Co. Hyundai will offer an app designed for Glass and other “wearable” electronic devices starting with the 2015 Genesis. The feature will be an extension of Hyundai’s current Blue Link in-car system that provides diagnostic and maintenance services, the carmaker said.

According to Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson, the Glass application is only “for pre-drive operations” not when one is behind the wheel. “The goal is that when you get to the car to start your trip, the drive is less stressful,” Johnson told Bloomberg. Hyundai, however, is not alone. Nissan Motor Co. and Mercedes-Benz earlier expressed plans to incorporate wearable data devices with their vehicles.

Google has released technical specifications for its Glass computing device in April 2013 to allow software developers to create apps for the Web-enabled glasses. Google has been investing in Glass as it gambles on consumers shifting their focus to wireless devices that allow them to easily take photos, check e-mails or listen to music without having to look at their smartphones or computers. Hyundai is demonstrating the Glass-enabled system Jan. 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, before the International Consumer Electronics Shows, Johnson said.

Read the entire article Google Glass pre-drive app eyed for 2015 Hyundai Genesis

Google has just unveiled the Open Automotive Alliance today and said that this is a mix of technology and automotive companies, which includes Audi, General Motors, Hyundai, Honda and Nvidia Corp. According to Google, the purpose of these companies is to take the Android software and to customize it for cars. As the Open Automotive Alliance puts it, in order, it will be bring the best of Android into the automobile in a safe and seamless manner.

The Open Automotive Alliance is essentially a partnership that focuses on bringing Google’s largely successful mobile operating system to in-car entertainment systems in such a way that Android would be purpose built for cars. The first cars that would boast of Android integration are planned to be launched by the end of this year (2014).

This move offers a number of advantages such as that the carmakers will be able to offer modern software inside their vehicles while keeping pace with the mobile-device onslaught. On the other hand, technology companies such as Google and Nvidia will install their software into hundreds of millions of cars sold each year.

Read the entire article Google announces Open Automotive Alliance to bring Android into your car

Elon Musk, the CEO of electric-car company Tesla Motors, said that he hopes that the company will be able to work with Google in the development of autonomous cars. Bloomberg said that Tesla is in talks with Google about driverless technology. However, Musk is insisting that it’s likely that Tesla will form its own system.

According to Musk, the driverless or autonomous technologies would be the next major development for the car since road safety is significantly improved.

Musk told Bloomberg that he prefers the word autopilot to self-driving since the autopilot in planes has been “a good thing.”

Read the entire article Tesla is in talks with Google about driverless technology

Google is getting ready to expand its online car-shopping service to dealers in California as well as to penetrate more states, sources familiar with matter told Automotive News. Google have already let dealers in the San Francisco Bay area test the service since last summer. Would-be buyers could now browse dealers' inventory and check vehicle prices without leaving Google search pages.

The expansion of the pilot could be seen as a signal that Google wants to become a more significant force in online auto shopping, considered as a vital part of auto retailing. Over 90 percent of vehicle buyers start their car shopping online with two of every three visitors to a dealership's Web site beginning from a Google search page.

Instead of directing vehicle buyers to dealership Web sites and other car-shopping sites like edmunds.com, autotrader.com and cars.com, Google now intends to keep them on its pages. The service, however, received mixed reviews from dealership general managers who have participated in the pilot.

Read the entire article Google poised to expand online car-shopping service in California