Announced almost exactly one year ago, Android Auto is Google's attempt to bring the smartphone's capabilities to a car while minimizing driver distraction. The system has been available on third-party navigation systems since earlier this year, but starting today, it is available for the first time in a production vehicle, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Dealers will be able to update Sonatas equipped with the optional navigation and tech package with Android Auto starting today, while owners will be able to perform the update themselves later this summer.
Android Auto acts as an interface on top of Hyundai's existing in-car navigation system, offering Google Maps navigation, Google Voice Search, sending and receiving of text messages, phone calls, and the ability to listen to music or podcasts from a handful of third-party apps, including Spotify and Pocket Casts. It requires a smartphone with Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer plugged into the car's built-in USB port, and can be controlled with the Sonata's touchscreen or steering wheel controls.
Dealers can install the update starting today
Hyundai says that other models in its portfolio will get Android Auto capabilities later this year. The company has also committed to supporting Apple's CarPlay, though it has not said when that will be added. Google has partnered with nearly 30 automotive manufacturers for Android Auto, and we should see many more gain support for the system as the year goes on. But if you want Android Auto built-in to your new car and you can't wait any longer, head to your local Hyundai dealer today.