In-Car Tech

Polestar 2 is the first vehicle with Android Automotive OS

The crossover's infotainment system runs on Google technology.

Photo courtesy of Polestar

There's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Those systems allow for your Apple or Google-run smartphone to run applications on your in-car infotainment screen. Now, Polestar is taking that technology a step further, making Google's Android Automotive OS its operating system (OS) for the car's infotainment system.

The Polestar 2, the company's first all-electric crossover, is the first vehicle in the world to feature the Android Automotive OS system. This OS has Google apps and services built in, meaning you don't have to plug in your smartphone to access them. Each new Polestar 2 comes with three years of internet connectivity included in the purchase price.

Polestar 2 The Polestar 2's interior is modern and features clean design.Photo courtesy of Polestar

Using the Google Play Store on the centrally-located display, owners are able to download a range of media apps that allow them to enjoy podcasts, the radio, audiobooks, and music. Google Assistant is integrated into the car so drivers and their passengers can use it to delver voice-controlled demands just as they would at home with their Google Home device.

"By partnering with Google, we ensure that the infotainment system stays as cutting edge in the future as it is today," comments Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. "Developers are able to join the open ecosystem to adapt appropriate apps for use in the car, and create new ones. Customers will benefit from a car that seamlessly integrates into their digital lives."

Behind the scenes, Google and Polestar are making it easier to app developers to create products that interact with the vehicle in such a way that it allows the model and its owners to adhere to driver-distraction guidelines and restrictions. According to a release,

"Polestar is also releasing a new version of its system emulator for the Android Studio development platform, which now features a full implementation of embedded Google apps and services. This makes it possible for developers to test voice control and other integrations in their apps while work is in progress, allowing them to see and control the apps in the same way as users will inside Polestar 2."

Apps scheduled to be available in Polestar 2 include: podcast apps Castbox and Pocket Casts; library app Libby; radio apps iHeartRadio, Swedish Radio Play and NRK Radio; Bauer Media Audio's Magic Radio and Radioplayer apps; music and podcast app Spotify.

"At Spotify, we want to make listening to your favourite music and podcasts easily accessible – whether that's at home, on the go, or in the car," says Sten Garmark, Spotify VP of Product. "We're looking forward to introducing our innovative integration with the new Polestar 2 infotainment system on Google's Android Automotive platform. This collaboration creates a seamless, high-quality listening experience for our users on the road."

Google apps and services in Polestar 2 consists of the Google Play Store for downloading apps, Google Maps for navigation, and Google Assistant for voice control.

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New crossover

Toyota Announces 2022 Corolla Cross

The Corolla Cross is smaller than a RAV4.

Toyota

Almost a year ago, Toyota released yet another crossover, this time in Thailand, but it wasn't the release's location that made news. Toyota unveiled the new Corolla Cross, a crossover based on the automaker's legendarily dependable car bearing the same name. The rumor mill kicked into action, speculating on when the new vehicle would make its way to the U.S., and now we have our answer. Today, Toyota announced the 2022 Corolla Cross for the United States and released many key details on its features and configurations.

Toyota will offer the Corolla Cross in three trims: L, LE, and XLE. All three will be powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 169 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive by default, but all-wheel drive can be added to any trim level. The CVT has been configured with a physical first gear, which Toyota says improves driver engagement, but it should also help with off-the-line acceleration. The base L trim will ride on 17-inch steel wheels and the top XLE trim gets 18-inch alloys.


2022 Toyota Corolla Cross The Corolla Cross is less "out there" than the C-HR.Toyota


Though it will share a platform with the C-HR, the Corolla Cross will be slightly larger than the funky vehicle. It slots into the Toyota lineup between the quirky smaller crossover and the massively popular RAV4, giving the automaker yet another competitor in the crossover-crazed U.S. auto market.

The Corolla Cross will at least have some capability to back up its name. The vehicle will be able to tow up to 1,500 pounds, and when equipped with all-wheel drive it will offer a torque vectoring system. When needed, the system can send up to 50 percent of drive power to the rear wheels, but disengages when not in use. Beyond improving traction, the system helps conserve fuel, netting the Corolla Cross a 32-mpg combined rating with FWD and 30 combined mpg with AWD.


2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Inside, the Cross looks quite a bit like the standard Corolla.Toyota


Inside, the Corolla Cross' front cabin area could easily be mistaken for that of its sedan counterpart. Screen placement and overall design are quite similar to that of the good old Corolla. Standard technology features for the Corolla Cross will include a 7.0-inch touchscreen that runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The LE and XLE models will get an eight-inch touchscreen and can be upgraded with an optional nine-speaker JBL sound system.

Toyota will include its Safety Sense suite of advanced driver aids with every Corolla Cross, which includes blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts for the base LE model. The XLE trim picks up front and rear parking assist with automatic braking.


2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Passenger space is a priority in the Corolla Cross.Toyota


The Corolla Cross doesn't have a set release date yet, but its 2022 model year is a good indication that we'll see more on the vehicle in a few months. Pricing details will become available as we approach the vehicle's on-sale date.

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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