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Android Communications Transportation Upgrades Entertainment

Hyundai Now Offers an Android Car, Even For Current Owners 86

An anonymous reader writes: Looking more like a computer company than a car company, Hyundai ships Android Auto on 2015 Sonatas and unlocks it for owners of the 2015 Sonata with a software update. Says the article: To enable Android Auto, existing 2015 Hyundai Sonata owners outfitted with the Navigation feature can download an update to a USB drive, plug it into the car's USB port, and rewrite the software installed in the factory on the head-unit. When the smartphone is plugged into the head-unit with a USB cable, the user is prompted to download Android Auto along with mobile apps. Android Auto requires Android 5.0 or above. That sounds like a good description of how I'd like my car's head unit to work -- and for that matter, I'd like access to all of the software.
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Hyundai Now Offers an Android Car, Even For Current Owners

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Modern appers app roads with apps!

    Apps!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 26, 2015 @11:57AM (#49775803)

    I have a 12 year old BMW with an integrated navigation system. It works very well indeed. It is simple to use.

    What I hate about the newer model BMW's is that the UI has become extremely complicated. It is not any easier to use and I actually find it slower.

    I'm not convinced at all that things are improving.

    • My 25-year-old Mazda* has a tape deck [amazon.com], and I'm perfectly happy with that. (Okay, I do have a minor quibble that there's no line-in port, but that's no big deal. At least it doesn't have a CD player instead; if that were the case then I'd actually have to get an aftermarket stereo.)

      (*Don't knock it; it's very much on the "classic sports car" end of the spectrum, not the "old junky econobox" end.)

      • I have a 97' Miata with no CD or tape deck. It does radio, line in, and has a USB port for whatever mass storage device you want to play music from. What more could you want?

        • I have a 97' Miata with no CD or tape deck. It does radio, line in, and has a USB port for whatever mass storage device you want to play music from. What more could you want?

          Duh! (flying car)

        • Man, you kids who have no ability to tell the truth. 1997?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org]

          There were virtually no consumer products using USB in 1997. It didn't become remotely well known until Apple starting using it in 1998.

          Maybe you purchased a new stereo at some point?

          • Yes, I purchased a new stereo. What I was pointing out is that older cars don't have anything preventing you for adding new technology. Sadly, newer cars do. Newer cars create increasingly complicated "infotainment" systems like this that are rarely upgradeable (this story is an exception, not the rule) and extremely difficult to replace. Old cars had simple usually fairly standard radios that made it easy to pop it out and upgrade technology every 10 years or so.

      • Don't knock it; it's very much on the "classic sports car" end of the spectrum, not the "old junky econobox" end

        So, you're defending your mullet and your bad 80s hair metal tapes? Or are you fully driving around acting like you're Vanilla Ice?

        "Classic sports car" gets you a little too much "Wayne's World". ;-)

        • Nah, I'm not nearly rad enough to drive an AMC Pacer. My car is just a nice, low-miles Miata.

          Also, these days, Vanilla Ice is a general contractor / house-flipper. Not a bad gig, to be honest -- once I'm making enough money I'm maxing my tax-deferred investments, I indeed might try acting like him.

      • "Okay, I do have a minor quibble that there's no line-in port, but that's no big deal. "

        Problem solved for $8.69 .

        http://www.amazon.com/Maxell-C... [amazon.com]

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The modern equivalent of an AUX socket is MirrorLink. It basically displays your phone's screen on the dash board screen, complete with touch input. The protocol is based on VNC. Some phones have a special "car mode" that opens when you connect, with big easy buttons and limited functionality.

        That's what they should be adding. The head unit only needs basic functionality, i.e. radio and maybe sat nav if you also offer infinite free updates. Everything else people can use their phones for.

    • I have a 12 year old BMW with an integrated navigation system. It works very well indeed. It is simple to use.

      What I hate about the newer model BMW's is that the UI has become extremely complicated. It is not any easier to use and I actually find it slower.

      I'm not convinced at all that things are improving.

      I've got a 2011 BMW and I like the UI pretty well. The only thing I find a little irritating is that it doesn't just let you start entering an address, you have to select a city first, and then a street. When you put in the street they have it broken down by zip code, which I don't always know, so sometimes I have to take a couple of stabs to get the address range that fits the street address I am looking for.
      I guess I need to see one of the 2003 models to see what was different about them.

    • In the BBS days, pressing X (eXpert) got you a prompt and it was up to you to know what each letter did.

      We need the ability to choose the complexity/options level of our interfaces. Especially car and OS ones.

  • Virus (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2015 @11:59AM (#49775827) Journal

    I tried that and got a virus, and now every time I pass through a McDonalds, the car automatically maneuvers through the drive through, generating a "referral" fee for the virus writer. You have to order SOMETHING so you don't look like an idiot. Do you KNOW how many McDonalds there between Greensboro, NC and Charlotte? A lot, I will tell you that. I've gained 20 pounds in the last week.

    • Re:Virus (Score:5, Funny)

      by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2015 @12:46PM (#49776201)
      This isn't new. I've had one of those for 7 years, another for 5, and another that hasn't activated yet that is 9 months. Even before my personal experiences, I've known of these viruses in the wild for as long as I've been alive.
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2015 @12:01PM (#49775845)

    ...I'd like access to all of the software.

    Given the current state of security in "smart" automobiles, who would want to be able for anyone to plug something into the USB port of the car's entertainment system and completely update the software for the car?

    .
    Isn't that just asking for your car to be hacked?

    • by hsmith ( 818216 )
      You can update your cars firmware (chryslers) via the USB port - they have it so you can download it and install it that way yourself.
      • Yup, all Chrysler lines (Dodge, Ram, Jeep) have this ability. The ability to upgrade the firmware mitigates the issue earlier infotainment systems had, mainly that they would become out of date long before the end of the useful life of the car.

    • ...I'd like access to all of the software.

      Given the current state of security in "smart" automobiles, who would want to be able for anyone to plug something into the USB port of the car's entertainment system and completely update the software for the car?

      . Isn't that just asking for your car to be hacked?

      Besides, Timothy can't even edit an article summary. What makes any of us think he'll be any better at editing code?

    • ... and completely update the software for the car?

      Heh. You may have missed it but we're talking about Android, here. The software update comes when you buy a new car.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Do you destroy the USB ports on your laptop before taking it out of the house? I don't, I just rely on physical security and locking down the OS.

      Well, I do avoid laptops with Thunderbolt, PC Card and Firewire ports, or disable them completely because they are huge security risks that can't be mitigated any other way. But USB doesn't give the device DMA access to the system, so as long as I control access to the OS it's fine.

  • by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2015 @12:16PM (#49775941)

    The driver may get distracted enough when a malware pops up a porn site on the car's screen.
    Come to think of it, that was the malware I remember i.e. that for Internet Explorer 5 and 6. I kind of miss porn malware.

  • What about update authentication? Is this signed update? If not, get ready for malware, MitM and all other kinds of nastiness.
  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2015 @12:20PM (#49775977) Homepage

    We bought a 2015 Dodge Journey Blackout Edition. Now I like the 280+HP but the in dash/navigation is shit. Navigation went out 6 months into owning the car. Went to the dealer three times for "firmware updates" which they say must be downloaded on a car to car basis as they are serial number specific :rolleyes: The downloads/upgrades failed three times and were told had to wait for new update so come back next time. On the third time they got a fuck you when we come back you're installing a new unit.

    The unit was installed but now the volume on the unit only goes to 38 previously it went up much higher (although the audio only sounded good up to 36-38max) and the 38 level is now closer to 34-36 on the broken unit.

    There's still a bug in the dash unit. If you are using usb as the source, when you stop the car while audio is playing, turn the car off and open the rear hatch the unit resets the play location to the first file on the usb drive. There are a couple of combos of this LOL.

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )

      We bought a 2015 Dodge Journey Blackout Edition.

      I believe I have identified, after much research, what your problem may be, good sir.

  • To fix bluetooth issues such as "next track" button not working and phone disconnecting on car startup? Track name is not even displayed on the LCD.
  • Not "all software" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2015 @12:32PM (#49776065) Homepage Journal

    When it comes to the software that makes a car a car, things shouldn't be so simple that even an idiot could do it.

    Yes, I'm all for revoking copyright- and DRM from such software, but it should be a little more regulated than "plug and play."

    Here is what I would recommend:

    1) Use a standard, very simple, well-understood, non-patent/copyright-encumbered interface like a serial port or, if they aren't encumbered, existing car diagnostic ports.

    2) Allow "anyone" to upload software that is "signed" by the manufacturer and for which the manufacturer will take full responsibility for. This is so Joe SixPack or any shade-tree mechanic with the hardware to access the diagnostic port can install factory-authorized software updates such without having to go to the dealer (think "your car has been recalled due to faulty software, here's the patch if you want to install it yourself rather than driving in to the dealership").

    3) Any user who chooses to blow a hardware "fuse" can install any software he wants to without permission from the auto-maker, BUT prior to driving the vehicle on the public road he must register his car as an "experimental vehicle" and he assumes complete responsibility for it from that point on. Not only is the warranty void but he inherits the legal liability from the automaker if any mechanical or computer failure causes anyone any injury or death. Why? Because maybe there is a latent bug in the air-bag-sensor computer that, thanks to a different bug in the main computer's factory firmware, is never reached. A few days or weeks after the customer loads his own software into the main computer, the air bag bug rears its ugly head and someone dies because an air bag didn't deploy or deployed when it shouldn't have.

    4) A dashboard indicator would show that the fuse had not been blown and it would be illegal to cause the indicator to come on if the fuse had been blown. The absence of this indicator would alert the driver that either he had a faulty indicator light or that he was driving an experimental vehicle.

    • 3) Any user who chooses to blow a hardware "fuse" can install any software he wants to without permission from the auto-maker, BUT prior to driving the vehicle on the public road he must register his car as an "experimental vehicle"

      This is idiotic. I'm quite sure that no cars actually tie the airbags (or engine ECU, or ABS, etc.) into the infotainment computer.

  • To enable Android Auto, existing 2015 Hyundai Sonata owners outfitted with the Navigation feature can download an update to a USB drive, plug it into the car's USB port, and rewrite the software installed in the factory on the head-unit

    So if you thought you would be using your phone to replace the expensive navigation package, think again.

    • Well, yes. That means that the required screen and hardware are there. Kind of makes sense.

      • What doesn't make sense is having to pay for the built-in GPS unit and navigation software, since you are going to use your phone. Navigation packages often add over $1000 to the car cost.
        • And do you think a cheap little GPS receiver and software add that $1000? Most of that price goes to the touch screen and SoC. Really, most of that price goes to the fact that they are the only ones who can give it to you as a factory fit feature. So it's mostly extortion and not paying for any one piece of it.

  • like i can with IOS? i can have music playing via some app and run a nav app and the music will cut out for the voice to remind me of the next turn

    galaxy note 3 i can't listen to pandora or spotify or google music through the USB port in the car

  • I'm not convinced Android belongs in any vehicle, given the security issues. Am I wrong.

    • by Yosho ( 135835 )

      I'm not convinced Android belongs in any vehicle, given the security issues.

      What security issues are you talking about? How would they affect a vehicle? Are you thinking of specific security issues with the particular firmware Hyundai is using, or are you making generalizations based on other versions of Android?

      Am I wrong.

      That statement is vague enough that it's not even possible to tell whether you're right or wrong.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        What security issues are you talking about?

        He's talking about the vauge and nebulous threat that has never been quantified, let alone observed but he needs to believe in to justify his own beliefs.

        Am I wrong.

        That statement is vague enough

        The statement is clear enough to state that yes, yes he is wrong.

  • Android auto is currently only supported by certain handsets, but they won't tell you which ones. They only say that it requires a handset running android 5 or greater, but that isn't the only requirement. Furthermore, certain handsets have certain functionality crippled. I'm an early adopter, and I enjoy the pioneer headunit as a great stereo, but I am still unable to run the android auto part.
    • Likely that it's running the Google Now launcher. Since that seems to be a big part of the interface.

  • At least it isn't fucking Windows. "Please do not turn off your car while it updates" "Installing 1 of 11,234......"
    • Yes, because "Upgrading App 1 of 11,234" is so much better.

      /Note: I am an Android user, and wouldn't switch my phone or tablet to another OS. However, I can recognize nonsense when I see it, and criticizing the update system when it's basically the same as any other OS is nonsense.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2015 @02:53PM (#49777145) Homepage

    Ford GM and Chrysler will never EVER let you do this. They hate open standards. Hell GM is trying to get congress to say you dont own your car.

    • [citationneeded.jpg]
    • Umm, I can already install firmware updates to my Chrysler. There are already "plug and play" hardware devices that unlock extra capabilities to the infotainment system. Once it is off warranty it won't really matter whether they will "let" people update the software, I can see it being on the level of installing custom PSP firmware.

  • Self parking car runs over pedestrians because "owner" didn't pay for "pedestrian detection"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    http://www.independent.co.uk/l... [independent.co.uk]

    The most amusing part is the dullard just stood there when it is evident the vehicle is going to fast to stop.

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