You know those apps on your smartphone or tablet? Honda just made it possible for the public to make the same thing for the next generation of Honda vehicles. A new Silicon Valley initiative called Honda Developer Studio will allow software developers to develop apps with Google’s Android Auto software.
This is big. Apps have become incredibly prevalent in our world. Without apps, it’s possible that smartphones and tablets wouldn’t be nearly as popular. Mobile devices might have remained a niche product. Instead, apps allow us to connect in all sorts of ways.
What Honda is doing is pretty unique in the automotive space. By working with independent software developers, Honda is allowing the public to guide what kinds of apps will appear in Hondas of the future. This open style of collaboration is virtually unheard of among automakers.
Apps that are deemed worthy will get their creators invited to meet with Honda’s R&D team in Mountain View, California. There the engineers and innovators will work out how to integrate the technology into Honda vehicles. If it’s anything like Android phones, people might even be free to download or delete apps in their Honda whenever they want.
If California is too far you can still use the online portal at Honda Developer Studio. With Google’s brand-new release of the Android Auto software development kit, you can make your own app. The Studio opens up this month, so log it in the history books: Honda has gone open source.
It’s an exciting opportunity because cars are just starting to adopt the infrastructure that makes this worthwhile. Cars have SIM cards with data plans of their own now. They have Bluetooth wireless connection. They have cameras on the outside for safety systems.
If you’re an iPhone user, well, we’ll see what Apple has to say about this. Apple CarPlay is on its way for Honda, but we still don’t have a specific release date. Even so, Android Auto is brand new, so it will take a while for developers and Honda to approve a first round of apps.
While we wait, come by Leith Honda to check out the 2015 Honda Civic in Raleigh.