GM and Ford released statements to TechCrunch indicating that in their vehicles, Android Auto has very limited access to vehicle information. This comes after claims published by Motor Trend magazine that stated Porsche opted to not include Android Auto over the data collected by Google’s in-car infotainment system.
Both Ford and GM echoed Google’s statement that in their vehicles Android Auto (and CarPlay, for that matter) only has access to GPS data and simple vehicle information, such as the time of day and whether the car is parked or in drive. GM stated emphatically that it does not provide any data that isn’t necessary for the use of Android Auto.
TechCrunch learned that when Google initially approached automakers concerning Android Auto, it requested a deeper data set than what is currently required. Porsche could have made the decision at that time to stop working with Google and instead focus on CarPlay. It’s unclear when this early conversation happened. Google publicly announced Android Auto at Google I/O in June of 2014.
Both Google and Apple are carefully testing the automotive waters with Android Auto and CarPlay. If implemented correctly, both of these automotive systems have the potential to open a large market for both Android and iOS.
Both platforms have been widely adopted by a large swath of automakers including GM, VW and Fiat Chrysler. Ford has yet to announce when Android Auto or CarPlay will become available for its Sync 3 system.
For both Carplay and Android Auto, we only provide access to vehicle data that is required for navigation (such as GPS) and to align interface background colors for day and night modes. And consumers are given the opportunity to opt in to the feature with clarification that vehicle data may be accessed to deliver the experience.
We take the privacy of our customers very seriously and our services – including Android Auto – operate with strong privacy protections and practices. Customers need to give Google consent to share their data before any information is actually shared with Google. We don’t know what Porsche was required to provide Google, but we provide a very limited set of vehicle data that helps us ensure that the Android Auto customer experience is optimal and safe for the user. For example, the system needs to know if the vehicle is in park or drive in order to apply the necessary lock-outs to certain keyboard functions. We don’t provide any data that isn’t necessary for the use of Android Auto.