Car owners may not realize it, but there’s a war happening over which technology is used to control the entertainment functions of your car. It all comes down to data collection.
A critical Motor Trend article on Google’s Android Auto provides the background on why the 2017 Porsche 911 chose to go with Apple’s CarPlay system over the Android Auto. Using Google’s system would have required Porsche to hand over reams of data such as “vehicle speed, throttle position, coolant and oil temp, engine revs — basically … a complete OBD2 [on-board diagnostic] dump.”
That was a bridge too far for Porsche according to Motor Trend’s piece. “Porsche feels info like that is the secret sauce that makes its cars special,” Motor Trend said. “Moreover, giving such data to a multi-billion dollar corporation that’s actively building a car, well, that ain’t good, either.”
True, but I don’t think anyone is going to confuse whatever car emerges from Google with a Porsche 911. Though if Google wants to build a supercar for a Kia price, I swear I won’t complain.
Google is hitting back at the Motor Trend report, denying the company collects that type of data. A statement from the company says Android Auto does not collect data such as oil temp, coolant temp or throttle position. Instead, users opt-in to share information with Android Auto.
The data is used to improve the user experience and make the system truly hands-free while driving. Take GPS for example. If you have Android Auto, the car would share GPS data with your phone, which would make for more accurate positioning.
Google also maintains users would have to opt-in to share their vehicles data with various third-party apps and other Google services.
What’s the story behind the here? Money. No, Porsche isn’t concerned Google is going to use the data collected to put into a Google car. Even if they did, the company could buy a fleet of Porsches to test.
Nope, this boils down to the bottom-line. Connectivity in a car opens up a new vertical to create revenue streams based on the driver’s habits. No matter what automaker you choose, they want a piece of that action.
Until then, expect the back and forth to continue. Car companies on one side claiming to want to protect user privacy, and tech companies on the other side saying it’s all opt-in.
One this is for certain. The 2017 Porsche 911 is looking nice. Pricey as always, but you can’t deny it’s one sweet ride. I’ll go out on a limb and say the CarPlay vs. Android Auto is somewhere near the bottom of things prospective buyers are concerned about.