The Australian commercial radio industry has joined a global working group of broadcasters, carmakers and tech experts collaborating on the innovation of radio in Android Automotive, Google’s infotainment operating system being built into new connected cars.
Commercial Radio Australia is now part of the working group, which is led by the National Association of Broadcasters in the United States. The group is investigating the use of a combination of broadcast radio, internet and voice technology to optimize the radio experience in the car.
“The connected car will transform the in-car entertainment experience, and Australian broadcasters are pleased to be part of this exciting global working group providing input on how to deliver the best radio experience possible,” said Joan Warner, chief executive officer of CRA.
Android Automotive is an open-source operating platform that has an interface designed for the car screen. It features Google Assistant voice commands to control a range of car functions, including turning on the radio and tuning to stations.
Carmakers are able to customize Android Automotive and several, including Ford and Volvo, have already announced they will adopt it. ABI Research has forecast that 36 million new vehicles will be shipped with Android infotainment systems in 2030, said a CRA press release.
Speaking at the recent WorldDAB Automotive 2021 conference, Warner said it was important that broadcast technology remains the foundation of delivering radio in the connected car because of its reliability, with internet providing enhanced features such as richer content, images and interactivity.
She noted that the 2021 Infinite Dial Australia study found 84% of Australians listen to radio in the car. “This is a dynamic space and broadcasters need to participate in global efforts and work with car manufacturers to ensure radio is in the new car app ecosystems as connected cars roll out.”
CRA joined the NAB PILOT initiative following its work with Google in Australia and globally to make 400 Australian radio stations available via voice command on Google Nest speakers and displays.
Other participants in the NAB initiative include the BBC, iHeartMedia, New York Public Radio, Bauer Media, vehicle makers Ford and Volkswagen/Audi and tech developer Xperi.