Hyundai is the first automaker to launch the long-awaited Android Auto system on production vehicles. It is being offered initially on the 2015 Sonata with Navigation system and will become available on other Hyundai models at a later date.
Owners with cellphones that use the Android 5.0 "Lollipop" operating system or later will be able to integrate Android Auto into the Sonata's screen and controls.
A micro USB cable is required to connect the phone to the car's USB port. The first time a compatible phone is plugged into into a parked Sonata, the phone will prompt the download of the Android Auto companion app from Google Play.
Android Auto automatically pairs with the Sonata for phone calls through Bluetooth when connected for the first time and users will be able to access familiar Android phone applications such as Google Maps, Google Now, messaging, phone calling and Google Play Music via voice, steering wheel and touchscreen controls.
Android Auto also offers popular third-party audio apps such as iHeartRadio, Spotify, TuneIn, NPR, Stitcher, Skype, TextMe and more.
In addition to its familiar interfaces with Android Auto, app software (navigation, streaming music, etc.) is automatically updated because the apps live on the phone.
Owners can bring their personal reminders, suggested destinations, calendar appointments and music preferences with them when they get in their car.
In addition, Google Now 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
Android Auto not only ups the technology quotient in Hyundai vehicles, it also improves safety, according to the company.
"Android Auto aligns with Hyundai's core interior design principles of safety, intuitiveness and simplicity," saidDave Zuchowski, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America.
For example, Hyundai says, 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.
The smartphone's screen becomes "locked" when Android Auto is in use to remove the temptation for drivers to interact directly with their phones when driving.
Existing owners of 2015 Sonatas with Navigation will be able to get the Android Auto software update free of charge at their Hyundai dealers starting today.