Toyota won’t use Android Auto over privacy concerns
Android Auto is a mobile app that mirrors information from an Android smartphone to a car’s dashboard. It enables users to mirror content such as Google Maps, telephony, messaging apps, and more, and comes in a driver-friendly user interface. (Wireless Android Auto is also now live for the Google Pixel and Nexus devices.) Announced back in 2014, Android Auto is now compatible with vehicles from many brands, although it’s fair to say that it isn’t ubiquitous yet. Users who have bought or upgraded to select new vehicles from select car manufacturers since 2015 have used Android Auto, but this hasn’t been true if they have purchased a new Toyota car. It won’t be true anytime soon, either.
According to Motor1, Toyota won’t integrate its cars with Android Auto because of privacy concerns. In January, the company announced that Apple CarPlay — Android Auto’s competitor — would come to the 2019 Avalon vehicle, which would be a first for any Toyota product. The Avalon’s Executive Program Manager stated that the company was “a conservative company” which wanted “to make sure everything was okay.” He stated that the company wanted to protect their customers’ privacy, and that the company “strongly [believed]” in its stance and what it has been doing. (The company has made Amazon Alexa a standard feature in the 2019 Toyota Corolla.)
Motor1 notes that Toyota has been one of the few car manufacturers which have been slow to implement Android Auto-like systems. The company stated that it had concerns with Android Auto back in 2015, when it was concerned with both Android and Apple’s solutions. Other manufacturers were concerned about giving full control of the connected car experience to third-party providers. This is said to be the reason why many car makers still offer their own proprietary systems along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The report notes that after Toyota chose to continue with its own proprietary system in 2015, a Motor Trend report accused Google of collecting unnecessary data such as vehicle speed, throttle position, coolant and oil temperature, engine revs. In contrast, Apple was said to only want to know if the car was moving while CarPlay was in use. Google partially denied the accusations by stating that it did not collect data such as throttle position, oil and coolant temperature. It also noted that users opt-in to share information with Android Auto to improve their experience so that the system could be hands-free while driving and to provide more accurate information through the car’s GPS.
The company did not deny that it was collecting data on engine revs and vehicle speed. The purpose of collecting such data was for “more accurate navigation.” Motor1 notes that the news helped Toyota’s viewpoint for avoiding Android Auto, and even three years later, privacy is still said to be a concern for the company. It means that users shouldn’t expect to see Google’s solution in Toyota vehicles in the near future.