Toyota has long since had issues with installing Android Auto in its vehicles, but recently, the executive program manager, Mark DeJongh stated the company would be taking a conservative path by protecting its consumer’s privacy.
To this effect, Android Auto would not be a plausible choice going forward. The system is supposed to be manufacturer agnostic which means that a customer can sync their phone to a number of different on board systems depending on the brand though Toyota refused to bridge the system with Android. As a matter of fact only one model had Car-Play support and though the Corolla had Amazon Axela, it is only built into the Toyota software suite.
Entune and Alexa Fill the Gap
Toyota’s concerns about privacy came from a report in 2015 which claimed that Google collected throttle position, coolant and oil temperature engine revs, as well as, vehicle speed when Android Auto was in use. Though Google defended itself stating that it took privacy very seriously and it did not take elements. It did not refute the claim though that it kept data on the engine revs. It also did not deny taking vehicle speed ratings which is a major compromise for Toyota.
This news comes as Google recently rolled out Android Auto to its Google phones which include the Pixel and Nexus lineups. Of course, it weighs significantly on the market share which would prefer to use Android Auto in their Toyotas. In this regard, Brian Lyons, the senior manager of Advanced Technology Communications at Toyota, implied the company does understand the demand for the platform by the customers. Apparently, they had taken steps in order to support the clients by enabling third party app developers including Alexa, which has become directly compatible with the system.
Toyota is not the Only Skeptical One
Toyota is not the only brand which has had some concerns with these huge tech firms such as Google and Apple. Lexus had some big concerns as Toyota though it was not as open about its complaints as Toyota. In fact Toyota had made an alliance with Ford in 2017 stating that they would keep Google and Apple out of their models.
Toyota went back on its word, though, and announced Apple Car-Play support would be coming to the Avalon. Ford also backtracked on the informal agreement, and actually made a concession for both Android Auto and Apple Car-Play to become available in several of their models. At least Toyota is trying to keep to part of the agreement.
The question of privacy has been an issue for some time now with numerous scandals appearing everyday involving large corporations and data leaks. These include different sectors unrelated to the auto industry. Google has been accused severally of leaking user information to several vendors or exposing its customer’s information to malware attacks.
In this case, it has partially denied the accusations by claiming that it does not aim to significant data on the model abilities but that users share information to improve user experience. It is skeptical to believe this information cannot be weaponized to Google’s advantage.