After years of being treated as an interesting side business, automobiles have become the next target for Apple and Google, with Apple assigning 200 engineers to work on electric vehicle technology and Google saying it sees the public going driverless within five years. The most immediate battle, however, is the development of the next generation dashboard systems.

These systems go beyond Bluetooth connectivity for music or a hands-free calling, but allow Google or Apple operating systems to take over the center screen and certain buttons within the vehicle. Both companies say that their systems are designed to make drivers safer by allowing them to be more connected and less distracted, with no action taking more than two seconds.

When the Android Auto project began, it included automakers like General Motors, Audi, Honda and Hyundai, but as it prepares for debut, approximately two dozen car brands will offer it soon. Apple has teamed up with the same number of brands, many of which will offer both systems. One of the most widespread adopters will be Ford, which will begin offering both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay this year in conjunction with the revamping of the automaker’s much-criticized Sync system.

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