In-Car Tech

BMW adding wireless Android Auto in 2020, ditching Apple CarPlay fee

Google recently enhanced its Android Auto interface.

Photo courtesy of Google

Better late than never. BMW has announced that they will add wireless Android Auto to their vehicles starting in July 2020. The German automaker already offers Apple CarPlay, and in 2017 because the first company to make wireless CarPlay available.

In 2018, BMW became the first automaker to charge specifically for Apple CarPlay, requiring customers to cough up $80 per year for the tech. Last week BMW let it slip to Roadshow that they would no longer charge the fee for 2019 and 2020 model year cars.

Android Auto 2019Android Auto is able to perform many of the functions of a traditional smartphone while hooked up to your car, including give directions.Photo courtesy of Google

Android Auto will be available in the new vehicles sans special equipment fee.

Like with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto links a smartphone's functionality to a vehicle's infotainment system. When it becomes available, Android Auto will be able to fully integrate into BMW's digital cockpit meaning that the information appears in the car's head up display and instrument cluster instead of exclusively in the infotainment screen at the center of the dashboard.

"We are excited to work with BMW to bring wireless Android Auto to their customers worldwide next year," said Patrick Brady, Vice President of Engineering, Google. "The seamless connection from Android smartphones to BMW vehicles allows customers to hit the road faster while maintaining access to all of their favorite apps and services in a safer experience."

If you're wondering whether or not your phone is compatible with Android Auto, click here to see a handy guide from Google.

The public's first peek at Andorra Auto will be at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Android Auto will be available for all BMW customers in 20 countries with BMW Operating System 7.0 in mid 2020.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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The Supra finally gets a manual transmission for 2023.

Toyota

After an almost nonstop chorus of enthusiasts and journalists asking for a manual transmission in the new Supra, Toyota has gone and done it. The car will get an available six-speed manual transmission that will be available on both variants of the GR Supra 3.0, plus a limited-edition model on the U.S. market next year.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTToyota had to modify the car's interior for the new gearbox. Toyota

The A91-MT Edition Supra will be limited to 500 units, and gets two exterior colors with an exclusive Cognac leather interior. All 2023 Supras come with a 3.0-liter straight-six engine that makes 382 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. Toyota says the six-speed manual has been specially tuned to work with the car's engine, and notes that it modified an existing transmission housing to come up with the design. The gearbox's final drive ratio is shortened to improve response and take-off.

Toyota had to modify the car's interior to accommodate a gearshift lever, so the iDrive controller and other buttons had to be relocated. The automaker says that it focused on the feeling of shifting, from the weight of the knob to the ergonomics and location of the component.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTThe limited-edition A91-MT trim gets an exclusive cognac leather interior.Toyota

A Supra with a manual gearbox is reason to celebrate, but availability is limited to the top Supra 3.0. The "base" Supra 2.0 won't get the transmission. Toyota says pricing and other information will be available later this year.

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