Note the features for gas-powered cars. It should be a snap to have the same for EVs. It would be nice to have Waze do all the range calculations for a trip, knowing the elevation and traffic flow and such.
Waze is coming to Android Auto and it could change the way you drive
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Android-autoIMAGE: MASHABLE, KARISSA BELL
BY KARISSA BELL
2015-04-16 22:13:28 UTC
When Google first previewed Android Auto, its Android-based in-car system last year during Google I/O, many wondered if Waze would eventually make its way to the platform.
Though the two seem like a natural fit, Google's crowdsourced navigation app wasn't mentioned during the announcement and early versions of the system aren't compatible with the app.
But Waze will not only be part of Android Auto, the app could make Google's in-car platform even more powerful.
SEE ALSO: Google's Android Auto in-car system is finally hitting the road
"Obviously, you know what Android Auto is doing," Waze head Noam Bardin said during a recent event at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, in response to a question about Waze's role within Android Auto. "It’s obvious that Waze is going to be in the car."
Exactly what the in-car version of Waze will look like is unclear but, as with Google Maps, it's likely the core navigation experience will remain about the same. But Waze could potentially grow its repertoire of features by taking advantage of cars' data to personalize its recommendations even more.
During a preview of Android Auto during Google I/O last year, Google showed off features that allow Android Auto to tap into some vehicle information and sensor data. Waze could take this a step further by surfacing recommendations based on what's going on within a user's car, says Waze's head of growth Di-Ann Eisnor.
“What I’m excited about in the future is the data the car has with the data our app has," Eisnor tells Mashable.
"For example, we’ll know what your fuel level is and then we’ll be able to tell you where to get the cheapest gas based on how much gas you have left. We’ll know when the windshield wipers are on so we can get an understanding of if there’s a weather change because road weather is a very important safety factor.”
Eisnor was quick to point out that such a scenario is still at least a few years off — the vast majority of the team's resources are focused on the core app experience, she says. It's also worth pointing out that this functionality would likely be dependent on the auto manufacturers embedding Android Auto into their cars as aftermarket Android Auto units aren't yet able to access a car's onboard sensors.
Android Auto on one of Pioneer's navigation systems. Right now, Pioneer's systems, which range from $700 - $1,400, are the only Android-compatible units on the market.
IMAGE: MASHABLE, KARISSA BELL
Though Google has confirmed a number of automaker partners who will offer Android Auto within their fleets, no cars on the market right now have Android Auto baked-in. In fact, the only way to get Android Auto in your car right now is to buy an aftermarket navigation unit from Pioneer.
But the idea of pairing car data with Waze is certainly appealing. And the data could potentially expand beyond well beyond the car given Waze's recent focus on municipal partnerships. Over the last year, the app has partnered with 30 cities around the world, including Rio de Janeiro Boston, Louisville and Mexico City.
The partnerships allow Waze and the cities it works with to use each other's data for free. Cities may push last-minute road closure info through Waze, for example, while Waze may send user-reported pothole information to a city's public works department. The city of Boston used Waze to gauge how prioritizing public transit vehicles in certain areas would impact traffic.
With Android Auto, all these components — vehicle information, app data and city infrastructure — could potentially come together in ways we haven't even thought of yet.
"When the car can begin talking to apps like our’s, can begin talking to the city, it gets very very exciting," Eisnor said. "It’s getting that information not just from OBD [on-board diagnostics] but when OBD can talk to the toll, can talk to an app... you start looking at city infrastructure — it’s pretty neat."
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TOPICS: ANDROID AUTO, APPS-AND-SOFTWARE, APPS AND SOFTWARE, GOOGLE, TECH, WAZE