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Google’s Phone-Free Android Auto System Set for 2015 debut

Google debuts its Android Auto in-car infotainment system this year.

On the heels of Apple’s CarPlay infotainment system that debuted in 2014 model year cars, Google recently announced its own version called Android Auto, set for release this year.

Apple’s CarPlay is available for all iPhones that operate on iOS7.1 or later and connects via the Lightning connector to a vehicle’s dashboard console. Similarly, the current Android Auto software requires connection to an Android-powered phone to be connected to a car‘s dash console. But Google has bigger plans in store. Ultimately, the company aims to allow for installation of a coming version of the Android software directly into a vehicle’s infotainment system, making it the standard operating interface. Both systems feature voice-activated controls, allowing for safer, hands-free operation.

The move essentially will cut out the middleman, allowing drivers to access a range of internet functions including navigation and other apps without relying on a connection with a mobile device. No more u-turn skids and mad dashes back to the house/office/lover’s apartment upon the realization that you’ve left your phone somewhere.

While some are stoked about the new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems, some are concerned about the potential privacy violations and other legal ramifications of all that data being collected, including your vehicle’s speed, fuel level and location at any given moment. Neither system has been fully rolled out yet, so much of that concern might be for naught.

What do you think? Do you love the idea of a connected car or are you a bit leery of the potential privacy issues? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.

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