Android Auto and automotive shenanigans (AutoComplete, Ep. 19)Waze finally comes to Google's automotive platform, and we give you the latest on all the ugly and shady happenings in the automotive industry.
[MUSIC] Welcome to Auto Complete, it's Roadshow's weekly podcast from the intersection of all that's going on with cars and technology, I'm Brian Cooley editor at large, joined from the East Coast by our editor in chief, Tim Stevens and Tim, we've been busy on a lot of things on Roadshow, let's get some highlights out of the way before we dig into the news. Emmy's been out in a new mini cooper convertible [UNKNOWN] said she took the new convertible for a spin and quite enjoyed it. You know, that seems like a car that's pretty well suited for [UNKNOWN] [LAUGH] But you know, drop top Minis make a whole lot of sense and she had a lot of fun in this car. We get a lot of requests, a lot of email about Minis. For whatever it is the Road Show audience is pretty Mini-centric. John Wong went out in the new seat class Coupe hot looker right there. And of course, the carfection folks are quite happy that we've got a new V12 Aston Advantage with the manual. One of the very birds out there that combines big power and three pedals... Right, you don't see too many of those on the market any more. And speaking of the Aston product plan, they said they were very low adoption of manual transmissions but ultimately it's nice that they're throwing that in there. A bit of a nod to the fans, especially as we have the new DB11 coming very soon. Yeah, there's something sort of anachronistic about the manual in the super high end cars but I'm glad they're hanging in there. I know A lot of folks that are part of our audience are going to say absolutely, someone's gotta hold the line. Let's take a look, what's going around the news here. A lot of it, of course, centered around Google's IO conference for developers that took place this week. And one of the most important ones is Ways is finally going to become part of Android Auto. Now this is big Tim. we've had a lot of people say why isn't that A navigation option in AA and finally it will be. Right. ways is own by Google this point. So, everyone basely expect that as soon as android auto was Inextricably use to go. That they will [INAUDIBLE] wave support as well of it actually taking quiet a while and we just fluttered the way that Android auto is develop their basely templates and every [UNKNOWN] to fit with in. And there wasn't really good templates For Waze to fit in. Well they finally made a custom one for Waze and so it's going to be coming out sometime later this year or within the next couple of months. I spoke with Patrick Brady who's their Director of Android Engineering about it and he said there's something that they wanted to do and they certainly heard all the feedback and all the requests from people. On this screen you'll now have two navigation options within Android Audible, the basic Google Maps And also the Waze application. They look pretty similar, but of course with Waze you'll be able to get some notifications from other drivers, warnings about traffic congestion, debris in the road, and police officers too. And you can very easily With quick button touches or even by voice, you can record your own issues. Score some points for your waste profile. So it definitely looks like a good update. And I'm eager to give it a shot. Yeah, for folks that don't use Waze, it as Tim mentioned, it's the sister to Google Navigation. Lot of folks have asked why if Google bought Waze. Why isn't that. And Google Maps turn by turn navigation, folded into one thing. So they each have the goodness of each other A lot of it apparently comes down from the fact that when they bought ways, they got a fair amount of scrutiny from the FTC about anti-competitive condensation of the market. So I believe that's a significant part of why they haven't made it one nav product. Because to my mind, anyway, it's infuriating that I have Two choices from the same house. I tend to use Waze more often but I know Android tends to default everything over to Google Maps and that's annoying. Yeah it's definitely frustrating to have things split. And of course Google navigation does include some [UNKNOWN] and ways. To this any traffic congestion or accidents reported in Waze that will show up in Google Maps but ultimately it would be nice if they would just kinda come together in the best features of both so you don't have to worry about hopping back and forth between the two. But now at least you do have the option of having either one in Android Auto. And a lot of other nice updates coming to you from Android Auto. You won't have to have a compatible head unit in your car anymore. You can actually have Android Auto just run right on your phone. So if you have a A dashboard mount for your phone, when you can just run android auto right on there. And get all the power of android auto, all the voice recognition, all the messaging all the compatible apps useful in a simple distraction non distracting way, excuse me. And having that without having to have a compatible head unit or having to buy a new car is definitely a very nice thing. And they're also you were writing this week this week a little down the road a ways not released yet. Moving more towards front and centering android as I mean, it runs a lot of cars already in the root sense but, it may so up more and more as a native service or an operating system running in the car to actually run the head unit even if you're just an iPhone user I mean, making it in an automotive platform as supposed to a telegraph phone platform Right. As you mentioned we do see Android running in cars. Running kind of behind the scenes. And a lot of cars are running Linux as well. Which is kind of the root of Android itself. But what they want to do with Android N is make it a little bit more powerful and a little bit more flexible. So auto manufacturers can have their car running Android. And in a dedicated way. So you can actually install apps right on your car. And to this they've made a lot of extensions to Android. And, for example, there's multiple display support. So the car can be running a display behind the dashboard. For all your gauges and all your instrument clusters. In addition to other displays in the center console. And even in the rear seats. All powered by Android. And with a full bluetooth stack. And everything else. So you have apps for running in your car. Connected to your phone. And as you mentioned it can even connect to an iPhone. And running apps that way. So it could be a powerful. But given how long these things take to kind of gestate. Within the automotive industry. Probably looking at couple years before we see android n actually running in any cars. Yeah folks we're talking about you know this talking over the whole inside displays first row second row ip center stack becoming the control and the visual presentation engine. Of all the things that are high touch within a vehicle. That's a major shift. That moves Android from being a mobile operating system to being a mobile operating system. So that would be a really big deal and really put Android front and center when and if that happens. I find that exciting because I still gristle at the fact that so many car makers will adopt car player Android auto. And wedge it in alongside all of their past legacy LCDIPs or head units, and I end up with too many, talk about fractures, they say Android's fractured, cars are fractured with so many competing. Interface and service units come in together now. Right, and that's one of the things that Android would offer then to auto manufacturers. Right now if you add Android [INAUDIBLE] support in your car, like you mentioned, it kinda sits alongside everything else. It always looks exactly the same regardless of what car you are in. With Android N, manufacturers could personalize the experience to make it look how they want to so apps could look in a very distinct way. They could look different in a Mercedes Benz versus a BMW and that personalization could drive to an experience that is open and compatible with a lot of apps But still distinctive enough to look different as you go from one car to the next, which is something that I think everybody wants to see. So that could bring a lot more power to cars and a lot more standardization. And as you mentioned, it could get rid of a lot of this ugly fragmentation that we see. Yeah, so a lot of big things going on around Android, and cars, and having it more centrally in vehicles as well as being the very strong sort of parallel that it is. That is more phone centric today in the vehicle. Some related news from Hyundai around Android Auto is that they are going to be extending what Android Auto does. I mean Tim and I have been telling you how very fixed and regular it is, how it's very controlled, only shows certain apps in certain very clean common templates. But now Hyundai want to take. Their automotive sort of telematics functions, you know, trying to get road side assistance, active a valet, geo codes, your car doesn't runaway when you're at the restaurant things like that. Vehicle help reports, book and service appointment. They're going to have another card if you will That's going to be present inside of official Android Auto. But when they first showed us Android Auto about a year ago, they did, they kinda showed where there was a place for another button at the bottom that would take you to this. So they've now announced that that'll be available in production cars by the end of this year. We're chasing down an answer from Hyundai on whether and to what degree that will be retrofittable, upgradeable to the current maybe 15 or 16 Hyundai that you own right now. That has android auto in it, so we'll keep an eye on that for you. Moving on now to Tesla had such incredible uptake of preorders for the model three and everyone was talking about how far will it go before it peaks and then we can know what it is. We kind of have a number now. 373,000 firm-booked cleaned pre-orders for model three. Tesla announced that they had about twelve thousand people that either withdrew, or there were duplicate orders for some reason. So if you're following the horse race, Tesla has settled in at about 373,000. And Volvo's got, I guess you could call it GLA envy, Tim. I feel like GLA's here in the Bay Area, they seem to be- Cropping up like mad. And now Volvo's got a new prototype, a concept of what they call the new 40 series, not the old V40, that has an awful lot of GLA DNA in it. That sort of premium small crossover segment is definitely blowing up in a big way right now, and Volvo wants to get on board. They've had such great success with the XC90 which was our car of the year last year. Now they're bringing that into a smaller car with these new 40 Series concepts. They look great, it's still got that new front end that we see on the XC90, but a little bit more daring styling in the rear end. Which I think is good, because the XC90 is a little bit boring as it goes away from you. But ultimately, these look pretty great. I think they look a little bit familiar, perhaps. But these are just concepts at this point. The big news though is in the power train Volvo is saying there will be electric versions of these cars available and also the twin engine hybrid versions as well. So you should be able to get really good gas mileage, or go full electric if you want to but again these are just concepts at this point. Not looking to see production versions until next year sometime and then probably be another year or so Before they actually hit dealerships. Yeah I hadn't thought until I was looking over this story that yeah, Volvo's kind of absent in that incredibly hot compact premium, compact premium car let alone compact premium crossover. And that's kinda where all the heat is right now. That's huge area. Yeah Yeah absolutely, and Volvo is definitely shooting upmarket with the XC90, they're definitely trying to push their brand up higher, which they've had great success with so far, so I think these will be successful cars for them, I think these should be great cars if the XC90 and the S90 are any indication, but again we're gonna have to be a little bit patient until we start to see them on the road. And I also just realized when you described it that yes, when the XC90 going away from you [LAUGH] it kinda looks like a wall of metal. It is one of the more [LAUGH] bland back ends. Yeah, not a whole lot going on in the back of that car unfortunately, but the front end looks so nice, you kind of- Yeah exactly, I guess they did double the work in the front and half the work in the back. Is that Mercedes Benz pickup truck ever coming is a question a lot of folks ask. Well we talked about it here on this show you've undoubtedly seen some of the spy photos of it and its a mind bending idea, a full size pickup from Mercedes its like is this a great idea, is it brilliant, is it peanut butter and chocolate Or is it the next segway? The latest we have reading a story in automotive news this week, kind of dug into where is this thing? Is you know, they first promised the decision on production in 2015 and then by middle of this year which is kind of here And no decision. And then there was word that they would decide next year. Now the latest they'll decide whenever is the quote. What's happening here is their getting a lot of push back from some of their dealers in the US. The most notable which is their largest. The guy that runs Auto Nation. The largest chain of dealers in the country Mike Jackson, who has flat out told Mercedes don't Don't go there trying to take on an F-150 Silverado and Ram 1500. And I have to agree, I mean where do you think a Mercedes pickup would find any traction, who wants a full-sized luxury pickup? Yeah it's definitely an odd bird and you know it seems like a car that would really have to have success in the US. But it's hard to imagine it really being any kind of success anywhere world. Yeah. But we've seen luxury pickup trucks come in the past from Lincoln and from Cadillac, and ultimately they've never really done that well. Obviously the markets a little bit different now than it was before For the SUV markets booming right now. So maybe there is an opportunity but it remains to be seen. The new Ridgeline is doing well from a marketing standpoint. We'll see if the sales back that up. But it's definitely a big question mark. Will people pay extra for luxury in the truck rather than just functionality when trucks are such. Function over form vehicles. I'm a little bit skeptical myself, but ultimately there are interesting things going on in the market right now with SUV sales like I mentioned, and luxury SUV sales in particular. So maybe this is just the next extension or evolution of that. Yeah there's something about a bed that just changes a perception of a car or a vehicle. Yeah from an enclosed vehicle. I mean the Lincoln Blackwood you mentioned. What did they call that Cadillac pickup? That was escalade variant? Yeah I'm blanking on the name myself. They call it the escalade something I thing. And then there was that Chevy that had the convertible cab. When you had the kind of openable back doors in the back, and all of these kind of got lost because I think they started with a luxury message first. Whereas if you start with real truck like an F150 and than add king ranch to that, you end up kind of getting to the same place a luxury truck but. You dont lose your truck identity you just add luxury to it or as a black water something it just black it out the truckness. And came on too strong as a wanna be car I think that's were the Mercedes issue is. They gotta figure that out. Yeah, it was the Escalade EXT by the way and just like that but, Mercedes does have the G wagon you know, which is very much hard for tools [UNKNOWN] Off roaders, so they've got a little bit of chops in that regard. And whether or not they could make this a actual hardcore truck with some luxury trimmings in the top. It definitely seems like, to your point, that they'd be coming at it from the other way. And if it isn't a serious truck to begin with, then what's the point? I just wanna be able to get to the day where I can go down to the rental place down here. Rent a pickup for the weekend. And have it be an all white, stripped Mercedes pickup. [LAUGH] That's when you know you hit real volume [LAUGH]. Wading through yeah absolutely. [LAUGH] Right grey vinyl interior [LAUGH]. Hm. hm. And a rack in the bed. That's it. I wanna go into the works, to the works absolutely. [LAUGH] All right, when we come back, we're gonna talk about some new Uber stuff. One is on the road and one is in the palm of your hand. And we're also gonna be on a very long lightning round of more news about scandals and cheats in the car business when Auto Complete continues. [MUSIC] Back to Auto Complete, Brian Cooley and Tim Stevens with our weekly podcast and all the news about cars and tech coming at you from Road Show at the roadshow.com. Uber has long have the ability in the app to say share your ETA, so somebody would know your progress on a time basis Towards your destination, but they now adding a new feature where can you also let people actually track you turn by turn on your ride and I guess it's largely being driven by you know serious of safety and it's like yes I'm okay you can follow me on the ride here and my hover driver's gonna stand me or kill me, I think really [UNKNOWN] coming from. Yeah and this is basically an extension of having the ability to have a family profile in Uber. So you can basically sign your kids up in Uber and have them be able to pick up a ride and bill that to you directly, which makes sense. In this we can also track them to see where they're starting from, where they're going, how long it's taking them to get there. So you can know where they are and make sure that they're safe. In theory you can also know that they're going somewhere you want them to go, I hope, and see how much they're billing to your account. So, you know there are definitely a lot of advantages here, particularly if you are a parent having your kids using your account, but it does sorta Tap in to the fear the notion that will always watching you where you go. But of course, Phil we knew that anyway. Yeah. We knew that anyway. Now they're just revealing it. Almost like comforting in a way. So, this again the people that in your profile, not just... Just anyone willy-nilly. So if you've all ready got someone in your profile there. Or you could pay for the fare. Split the fare with them. This will be a new feature for that list. I don't believe it lets you just send anybody in the world a link. And you do have to have the Uber app on the other end. If you do want to track someone. Who's invited you to do so which is a clever way to get more people to install that Uber app perhaps who don't already use it or around your list and not active Uber users. Speaking of Uber, they've got their first autonomous car actually running on the streets of Pittsburgh remember Pittsburgh, PA viewers, keep an eye up on this thing, it's a kind of a dark gray Ford Fusion Hybrid, with all the usual very prominent gear and LIDAR on the roof. You know this is just one car, I think it's their first car anywhere that is actually on the road, but these guys have big, big designs on making self-driving work. Yeah, it did seem that they are testing it in Pittsburgh because right now Pennsylvania doesn't have any autonomous car legislation at all. Very interesting. So it's kind of like the wild west out there you can do anything you can, in theory do anything you want to or you can maybe not do anything at all. It depends on what the police offer says when he pulls the car over, but ultimately Uber's been building their program outside of the Carnegie Mellon University programs of Thomas driving, that sort of thing. So they really pulled a lot of researchers from Pittsburg, so that's why they're testing there. But if you see this thing, it looks like it's got the world's greatest sound system on the roof, the way that they've designed all the sensors to stick out there. [LAUGH] It's got the LiDAR sitting on top of course, but all these optical sensors they have look all the world like woofers and tweeters. But yeah, definitely keep an eye on that out on the road. These are the sort of things you have to test in the real world, so there's no point in being super secretive about it. And indeed, Uber just released pictures today. They beat everybody to the punch. And, yeah, interesting, they're testing in an area where of course, like you say, it's the wild west, I hadn't thought about that. And, of course, it's got real weather. So let's, I think we're seeing more and more- Right. Of these cars being tested in real places. Where they can actually see how they deal with conditions. I tell you one- That's gonna be encouraging to see, rather than just testing in California where snow doesn't really [UNKNOWN]. Yes, California and Nevada where it's one weather all the time. All right, folks. Get a cup of coffee, settle down, it's time for the Scandals and Cheats Report. [LAUGH] We've got a lot of them, but we have every week. So first of all, if you've got one of the large GM cross overs Which just recently had their own MPG scandal. The latest word is that they're working fast to clear this out of the headlines on getting some kind of compensation plan. It could be a check, it could be a credit for service, for free at the dealer something like that, but this will cover 170,000 Chevy Traverses, GMC Acadias, and Buick Enclaves that had over-stated MPG numbers. For example if it's an all-wheel drive They were telling you you'd get 1724 on the window sticker when in fact you get 1522. It was a **** up in terms of their bookkeeping. This wasn't, by any indication, sort of sleazy stuff like Volkswagen. Just a relatively honest mistake so we'll keep an eye out for that when you've got some kind of a comp coming. A team like Suzuki also now is the latest to admit cheating on MPG testing in the Japanese market. I think with Suzuki we can now say everything [LAUGH] [INAUDIBLE] off in the world has now been found to be cheating on MPG remission. I don't think there is anyone left. Yeah. And it's interesting to see how they're all cheating cuz Suzuki in this case, they were cheating by doing their mpg testing in a tunnel which is one way of definitely cutting down on any wind resistance in the car. It wasn't a vacuum, by any means, but it definitely did help the cars a little bit. A vacuum, that'd be good. No one's used a vacuum yet. Okay, someone's gonna try that. [LAUGH] Hyperloop NVG testing that's the next generation of cheating on missions. So, they give you instantly say they don't need to restate any figures on these cars because ultimately the testing was good enough anyway. So, despite all the hubbubs, this thing does no need to restate anything because they're just fine. Yeah, I don't want to be cynical but shut up. Just don't tell anybody then is the result of it. For crying out loud. [LAUGH] All right, Nissan has been accused of the South Korean market of, it's a small one, but of cheating using a defeat device like Volkswagen on the Qashqai they sell there that is equivalent to one of the crossovers we get here As an infinity. Only 800 vehicles but, here the Korean say that they have the cheap device on their MPG, Nissan's got a 100 days to reply on that. Mitsubishi automotive, they've just lost their president of that division because of the scandalous well And this has been one that's really hurt their finances. It's what triggered Nissan to buy a controlling stake in the company, cuz it was so ailing. And again, this is Mitsubishi automotive. It's just a subdivision of Mitsubishi Heavy, but still it's a big company. And this was when Volkswagen couldn't get any worse headlines. Their hybrid technology might also be in some hot water. The U.S. International Trade Commision is investigating if VW's hybrid tech and corporately around the VWs, Porcshes and Audis as well, has ripped off the patents of a company called Paice in Baltimore. Which apparently has got patents with Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, licensed out their hybrid tech. Now apparently VW may have. Taking their hybrid tech from this company called Pace and used it without permission. They just, they can't not step in it. No it just keeps getting worse and worse. And with all the structural light being shined on Volkswagen, it's just hard to imagine that the story's ever going to get better. But certainly I think we are still in for a lot more bad news in this front before we finally get to some good news. And GM is going to add recalls to their ownership app, their telematics app, if you will. It used to be called On Star Remote Link, many of you probably have this. They're about to change that and the new addition that'll come out will be called My, whatever brand car you have, so My Buick, My Chevy, My GMC. And when they do make that conversion to this new branding and this new app, they're also gonna put in a new tab. To check my car for recalls. It's part of how they are cow telling to the government to say look, we are doing everything we can to get in front of key gate, and do our part to, not that it's their fault, but do our part to get ahead of Takata gate and so they're gonna be putting a more strong, upfront and center, recalls tab. Normally car makers used to bury this kind of thing, they didn't want you to think about recalls unless they absolutely had to put the word out Now it's becoming something very different where they realize it's part and parcel of making cars and being clearing about it. And our last story today is the strangest one we've had all year. [LAUGH] It's just, what are they doing at Google, Jim, you've got the best connections there. What do you think that they're thinking with the sticky hood. Well the idea is that if you get hit by a car, of course that's going to hurt, but not only is it going to hurt getting hit by the car, but it's going to push you forward and then at that point you are going to fall on the pavement and that's going to hurt as well. The idea is if you make the car sticky then the person who gets hit by the car sticks to the car And they dont' have to worry about that secondary impact. The problem is if you look at the Google car it doesn't really have a hood and so there's no real place to make it sticky. The pad application shows a traditional car, with a traditional hood, the idea being that the passenger would fall over and break some kind of surface in the hood exposing an adhesive of some sort and stick them to it. But if you don't have a hood, I don't see how that's gonna work so well. I think it means the adhesive has to be that much more of a fast tack. I guess so,>>These are gonna stick like that otherwise they are gonna slide down and then get run over a block later by the same car and that's not good.>>Its a cray concept but I think google is taking the software engine in the crotch to auto develop and which has patented absolutely everything ,every crazy idea that you have, just in case that it might a applicable somewhere down the road then put a patent on that and by that way not to worry about getting sued by somebody else later. So I can't imagine rushing going to see sticky hooded cars, but you never know. Yeah, how we laugh, but it does point out an important part of getting hit by a car. Which is not just that initial impact where your head typically hits that really unforgiving cowl area. Yeah. But then that secondary injury where the driver necessarily panic-stops saying what did I just do? And then you get launched a second time. Into whatever is out in front of that car. It could be traffic, could be a hard curb, could be a pole, it's just nasty. So what they're going after here is actually very laudable, it's just a [LAUGH] hell of a crazy vision. It is indeed Barry. All right folks, that's Auto Complete for this week. Thank you so much for checking in with us, and appreciate you subscribing to the podcast. Tell some friends about us, we try to keep folks on top of what's going on with cars, technology, and engineering in a A different, fresh point of view and of course, stay on top of everything by heading over to the roadshow.com. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter there when you get there as well. For Tim Stevens, I'm Brian Cooley. We'll see you next week. [MUSIC] Small clip with music, the blank.