A Google employee demonstrates Android Auto.
Elijah Nouvelage—Reuters
By Tom Huddleston Jr.
June 25, 2014

At Google’s annual I/O developer conference Wednesday, the search giant introduced a new in-car initiative called Android Auto that will allow users to connect Android devices to their cars.

Company executives demonstrated the voice-enabled system in front of a crowd of developers at the San Francisco conference, showing off how drivers with Android devices can sync them to their vehicles in order to send messages, look up directions using Google Maps or play music – all through voice commands. Users can also interact with the system through touch sensors on the device screen or by tapping sensors on the car’s steering wheel.

Google (GOOG) formed the Open Automotive Alliance in January in order to work with automakers such as GM, Honda, Audi and Hyundai to bring Android technology into in-car entertainment systems. Google said Wednesday that more than 40 automotive and hardware partners have joined the alliance and that the first vehicles designed to integrate Android Auto will hit the road by the end of this year.

The announcement followed Google’s unveiling earlier in the day of its new wearable technology, Android Wear, for smart watches.

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