The concept of running Android in automobiles is far from being a new one, for better or worse. Saab however outlined today in a press release how they're hoping to change the landscape with their Android powered IQon infotainment system. So how exactly is Saab going to change it up? As noted in the press release:

An 8-inch touchscreen provides access to services, including audio and entertainment streaming, online navigation and on-board music storage. Saab’s ‘open innovation’ strategy offers the global developer community access to the full bandwidth of car communications – infotainment, telematics, systems monitoring and diagnostics. In this way, it opens up new dimensions in customer choice for the personalization of in-car services. Even applications specific to particular countries can be included.

Saab is going to be using open API's and is taking the lead by letting Android developers in the community create applications that interface with well over 500 signals from different sensors in the vehicle. Be it vehicle speed, location and direction of travel, driver workload, yaw rate, steering wheel angle, engine speed and torque, inside and outside temperature and more. While it's not available yet, the IQon system is being put to the grind on a test fleet of Saab vehicles and will be demoed using the Saab PhoeniX concept car at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Full press release and video can be found after the break for you all. [PRNewswire]

 TROLLHATTAN, Sweden, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Ground-breaking car communications platform using Android operating system
  • Enables flexible upgrading and personalization during the car's lifecycle through downloading applications like a smartphone
  • Based on pioneering 'open innovation' with third-party service providers and applications developers  
  • Test fleet on the road with beta version of IQon system

Saab Automobile is changing the auto industry infotainment landscape by engaging external partners in 'open innovation' for the development of its new IQon infotainment concept, using Google's Android operating system.

Saab IQon delivers a completely new car infotainment user experience, combining all that's best from the mobile industry with Saab's automotive knowledge and innovative spirit to create an infotainment system for the next generation of Saab cars.

Users will be able to download a wide range of applications, online services and multi-media functions provided through a Saab IQon store. Saab will issue third-party developers with a vehicle application programming interface (API) providing access to more than 500 signals from different sensors in the vehicle. These measure, for example, vehicle speed, location and direction of travel, driver workload, yaw rate, steering wheel angle, engine speed and torque, inside and outside temperature, barometric pressure and the sun's position.

"With Saab IQon, there are no limits to the potential for innovation," says Johan Formgren, Head of Saab Aftersales and commercial project leader for IQon. "We will be inviting the global Android developer community to use their imagination and ingenuity."

Saab's collegiate development strategy - open innovation - is a 'first' in the automotive industry and provides a faster, more efficient and more flexible alternative to the conventional, in-house development of vehicle infotainment services.

"Today's customers want to be as well connected inside the car as they are at all other times," adds Formgren. "IQon will give them the convenient, seamless connectivity they enjoy with smartphones, while adding new car-specific programs and services."

IQon provides an embedded computer platform in the car with a modem which automatically connects to the internet when the car's ignition is switched on. An 8-inch touchscreen provides access to services, including audio and entertainment streaming, online navigation and on-board music storage.

Saab's 'open innovation' strategy offers the global developer community access to the full bandwidth of car communications – infotainment, telematics, systems monitoring and diagnostics. In this way, it opens up new dimensions in customer choice for the personalization of in-car services. Even applications specific to particular countries can be included.  

"Our open innovation strategy, using the Android operating system, will keep the provision of in-car infotainment up to date," adds Formgren. "IQon will allow infotainment services to constantly evolve during the lifetime of a car's product cycle,  unlike current in-car systems which are fixed some years before a car goes on sale and then remain static."

To ensure high driving safety and quality standards are maintained, programs from software developers and application providers will be evaluated and approved by Saab before they are made available to customers through the online Saab IQon store.

IQon also provides a platform for remote communication to and from the car with Saab dealerships, for example, using telemetry to upload vehicle data, carry out diagnostics, provide service appointments or even install some in-car options.

The IQon system is shown for the first time in the Saab PhoeniX concept car at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. A beta version of the IQon system is already being trialed with company users in a fleet of test cars.

 
There are 18 comments

Android is in phones, tablets, fish tanks, and now cars. iOS is in three of only one company's devices. Good job on the whole "diversity" thing, Apple!

lornaevo says:

Maybe Google should introduce an android that would allow you control your car like Knight Rider.

Bla1ze says:

Root Kit? lol.

IceDree says:

Give it a few days after releasing it & you will see people trying to root it .
Few more weeks & you will see people looking for updates & blaming Saab for not updating their phones (or in this case , Cars !)

As I much as like Android OS , but giving the fact that Android isn't fully stable , I won't depend on it in something that can endanger people & put them at risk like cars .
Sorry , but i'll pass on this one

640k says:

You're an idiot. Android isn't fully stable? Where's your proof? I've never seen Android, the OS itself, crash for any reason, my fault, ROM fault, nothing. Any sort of crashing were from other apps and are not a direct relation to the Android OS.

Second, you're an idiot. This is a radio. It can read diagnostics and output them to a DISPLAY. There's no mention of this RADIO controlling your car, changing A:F ratios, unlocking doors, etc.

Last, this technology is EXACTLY what car manufacturers needs. All of these "add-ons" that they keep offering to let you search for music or check Facebook status are a joke. Useless, proprietary jokes.

I'd take a radio with Android and access to the Android market to have my free, and UPDATED, Google Maps over any other stupid crap-ass technology that's currently available.

MattRussNC says:

To me this is a huge selling point. If or when i am in the market for a new car this would get big time extra points to the car with this incorporated. Of course if when released it is locked down to the basics of what they want you to have with no real hope of mainstream development, well then i guess it would mean nothing at all.

njr says:

As a big fan of both Saab and Android, this is a dream come true. Can't wait until it is available

Dark_Blu says:

OMG!!! The Underground Roms are unstable? Good thing I haven't rooted. :)

dkelley says:

"As I much as like Android OS , but giving the fact that Android isn't fully stable , I won't depend on it in something that can endanger people & put them at risk like cars .
Sorry , but i'll pass on this one"

what? android is on more mobile devices than any other operating system. people depend on it every second for vital communication and organization. It's on my htc hero and my samsung galaxy tab.

The only thing unstable about android is the underground roms.

IceDree says:

Are you telling me that your Hero & tab never rebooted by them self for no reason at all ?
Having Android on a car isn't the same as having it in your phone , if you losed control of your phone , no one will die , your phone doesn't weight 2000 pounds , but with the car its different you might kill someone

If you want Android in your car , get one of the aftermarket kits that let you use it for the media & maps (like the ones iPad have)

lov2xlr8#AC says:

hahah are you serious? is not like you have to tap the screen two times to apply the brakes and all of the sudden the system freezes and you can't stop the car! lol

Lowtech80#AC says:

Do you seriously think that the entertainment system of the car could in any way cause an accident? I don't think there is a car company in the world stupid enough to make a car dependant on the entertainment system. About the worst that could happen is you get the wrong directions or the temp display is off by a few degrees.

Dark_Blu says:

I guess I need to buy a SAAB then, so I can get my Android in the car on. LOL!!! We have been assimilated... :)

icu says:

Angry Birds on my car's dash could be very dangerous.

TROLLHATTAN? Now I know the city where internet trolls come from.

inuchan says:

Police don't like us talking on our cell phones while we drive but it looks like we can type up a twitter post while driving.

dcviper says:

I would not be surprised if this came seriously locked down, like the Nook Color. While rooting and flashing the Nook only means you are out $250 if you screw it up, doing it to your car's infotainment system is gonna cost you a lot more. Frankly, I wouldn't even consider rooting my car radio. I'd love to have Android serving up maps, tunes and perhaps even keeping me warm. But root and flash? Hell no.

en28so says:

Damn, talk about android world domination! I love android anyways.

qdigga says:

Definitely an Android fan, had 3 SAABs in the past, but I still can't help but think how long it will be before a unscrupulous developer decides to create a program that, given time, will take control of pertinent readouts on the infotainment system and falsely display readings like tire gauge pressure or engine temp or oil pressure, etc. If a person relies on that system (instead of the actual gauges on the car), there could be some dire consequences...