Tag Archives: Android Automotive

Android Auto Vs Android Automotive

Everything on Android Automotive and Android Auto

Screens have infiltrated your car! For better or for worse, your favorite infotainment features are now bound to a touchscreen, and Android Auto and Android Automotive will be a part of that. But infotainment is much more than a screen; it’s a gateway. It’s your portal to navigation, music, and even games. Some would argue that most of this is useless because they love driving, and you can’t look at a screen, or you’ll crash! So, you need an intuitive, hands-free, and proactive system like your smartphone.

We blame Google for this, but the Android naming scheme and app names constantly change or disappear from existence. The perfect solution to this is explaining everything on Android Automotive and Android Auto and forever updating it into the future, so that’s what we did!

Oh, and by the way. If you wanted to see if the Apples grow any better on the other side, we got a piece up for Apple CarPlay, as well.

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Android Automotive vs. Android Auto — What’s the difference?

Android Automotive in BMW with iDrive.
Image Credit: BMW

Android Automotive is a version of Google’s Android OS designed specifically for vehicle infotainment systems – the big tablet or normal-sized display, depending on your make and model, sitting in your center console. 

Volvo and Audi were the first auto brands to partner with Google in building Android Automotive for their next-generation vehicles. Although Google revealed Android Automotive to the public in 2017, it didn’t officially debut until the Polestar 2 came along in 2021. Some supported vehicles ship with Google Automotive Services (GAS). This app package contains services like Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Play Store. 

The crucial differentiating factor is that cars without GAS will not directly support Google apps, opting for their customized Android-based app implementations. You cannot access third-party apps through the Google App Store, but if these vehicles support Android Auto, you can still access some of your favorite apps.

What is Android Auto? 

Android Auto is an app for Android phone users to display content from their mobile devices to the infotainment display in their cars. Often bundled with CarPlay, Apple’s iPhone equivalent, Android Auto has been a mainstay since Google announced it in 2014.

Android Auto gets frequent over-the-air system updates and bug fixes, always doing its best to deliver the optimal on-the-road experience for Android folks. You can use Android Auto wirelessly or with a USB cable, though compatibility varies from car to car. Only 2020 models and newer support wireless connectivity.

Key features of Android Automotive

Image Credit: Polestar

Perfect! Now you know the difference between Android Automotive and Android Auto. But your favorite electric car needs an electric operating system. Android Automotive has its own feature set, design language, and cool integrations.

Safety first

Focus on the road! The Android Automotive UI is designed to be easy to navigate and reduces the need for prolonged interactions with infotainment while driving. Google Assistant provides context-aware responses. Proactive suggestions like traffic alerts, route changes, rest stops, and hotels keep you informed without the need for device fumbling.

In an emergency, Android Automotive can call 911 or provide location information to first responders. This can be integrated with vehicle sensors and driver monitoring, making the response instant. 

Wireless connectivity

Similar to your smartphone, Android Automotive provides regular updates through cloud services. It supports Wi-Fi connectivity to connect to local Wi-Fi networks for software updates and enhanced app functionality. Hands-free calling, audio streaming, phone calls, text messaging, and app mirroring are all enabled through Bluetooth.

Certain vehicles offer remote vehicle control with a smartphone app. You can lock, unlock, and locate your vehicle remotely from anywhere as long as you can access the internet.

Advanced driver assistance

ADAS features are fast becoming the tech to have in your car. Driver and blind spot monitoring, sensors, night vision, and traffic jam assistance are some driver assistance features that can be integrated with Android Automotive.

OEMs implementing their software is also vital for the Android ecosystem and consumers. You get more features, and BMW gets to add lane-keeping to its X6. Self-driving is the first thing that comes to mind when people think of ADAS, and the more consistent and intuitive these systems are, the better. A single base that manufacturers can modify is the best implementation to achieve this.


Accessibility is essential for colorblind drivers and those with auditory/visual impairments. Haptic feedback makes it easier to access touchscreen features without distracting you from the road. So you don’t need an impairment for these features to be helpful.

Connectivity and integration in Android Automotive

Connectivity is becoming increasingly important. What if you need to access your ring doorbell while on holiday or ensure a package gets delivered to your house, not your nosy neighbor? You can’t look at your phone while driving, so the best way to do this is through your car.

App ecosystem

Third-party app support is a must in today’s connected world. Android Automotive gives you access to your favorite apps through the Google Play Store. Car-integrated features like voice control make these apps easy to control without taking your hands off the wheel. You can even access games and movies when your vehicle is stopped.

Integration with Google Services

You can link up your Google account and access all your photos, calendar dates, and messaging apps. Android Automotive doesn’t integrate Apple’s ecosystem, but if you’re an iPhone user, you can use Apple CarPlay.

Integration with smart homes

Need to get the mood right, but you’re thousands of miles away? Android Automotive can control features like A/C, surveillance, and lights with your smart home hub. Geofencing means you can trigger these features when you’re in or leaving the vicinity of your house. 


Do you need anything more in a car OS than navigation? Android Automotive allows you to access more than just Google Maps: real-time traffic updates, traffic camera alerts, lane guidance, and site discovery. Navigation with Android Automotive is more like a co-driver than just a map.

Android Automotive’s ever-expanding car list

Image Credit: Google








  • Dacia Duster (2024+)



  • Fiat 500






  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Emeya



  • Lynk & Co 01


  • Nissan Rogue (2024+)



  • Renault Austral
  • Renault Espace (2024+)
  • Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric
  • Renault Master (2024+)
  • Renault Rafale
  • Renault Scénic E-Tech (2025+)


Alfa Romeo

  • Alfa Romeo Tonale




  • Togg T10X

Relation to Android Auto

Android Auto and iDrive.
Image Credit: BMW

Android Auto is constantly evolving. It has been around longer than Android Automotive and is available via aftermarket head units. So your favorite 2000s sports car, budget beater, or classic car can access modern maps and features. A great strategy for sustainable car use.

Key features of Android Auto

  • User-Friendly Interface: Large, easy-to-read icons and minimal distractions allow quick access while driving.
  • Phone Integration: You can conveniently make calls, access contacts, and see call history. All the usual phone features without the phone!
  • Home Screen Customization: You can customize the Android Auto home screen to access your favorite apps quickly.
  • Music: Music playback can be controlled via voice commands, steering wheel controls, or the touchscreen.

Connectivity and integration in Android Auto

Image Credit: Google


You can access your favorite music streaming services, like Spotify, and control playback through voice commands or the vehicle’s controls. Podcasts, audiobooks, and radio apps are also readily available.


Android Auto leverages Google Maps for real-time traffic updates, turn-by-turn directions, and detailed route information. So it’s pretty much the same as your phone in the sense of navigation, without having to fumble through touchscreen menus.

The future of Android-based infotainment

Android Automotive and Android Auto will undergo remarkable advancements in the future. These systems will offer drivers and passengers more personalized, and intelligent experiences, focusing on safety. Strong competition is also arising as Apple further develops CarPlay.

So, we’ll keep you updated on everything there is to know about Android Automotive and Android Auto. Keep up!

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Hummer EV running Android Automotive

Android Automotive OS: Full list of cars with Google’s standalone operating system in 2023

In a world where our phones, homes, and even watches are smart, it should come as no surprise that our cars are following suit. While traditional in-vehicle technologies like Bluetooth pairing and infotainment systems have been around for years, the shift to more comprehensive, intelligent operating systems in our vehicles is becoming increasingly evident.  Among the front-runners in this domain is Android Automotive OS (AAOS), Google’s vehicle-specific operating system, not to be confused with Android Auto. As we see the projected number of cars equipped with Android Automotive expected to double by the end of this year, it’s clear that this technology is swiftly becoming a major focus for manufacturers.

General Motors (GM) announced earlier this year that it would phase out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing the company to replace both systems with an integrated operating system based on AAOS. GM will partner with Google — the brains behind Android Auto and Android Automotive. This move aims to facilitate GM’s collection of data on driver behavior and EV charging patterns, and allow for improved system integrations, such as battery preparation for accelerated charging.

Understanding the difference: Android vs Android Automotive

Infotainment system tethered to phone using Android Auto
Image credit: Toyota

Despite their similar names, it’s important to understand that Android Auto and Android Automotive OS (AAOS) are fundamentally different systems. Android Auto operates as a phone projection app, essentially mirroring your phone’s screen and apps onto the vehicle’s infotainment display. Conversely, AAOS is a standalone system, fully integrated into the vehicle, eliminating the need for phone connectivity. It also offers direct control over an array of vehicle functions, including remote access, climate control, windows, lights, ride settings, and so forth.

Google brings native YouTube, Zoom, and Waze to your dashboard

With the upcoming release of Automotive OS 14, Google is now implementing apps like YouTube and Waze, and video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Webex into AAOS. It’s also adding multi-display support, allowing for shared viewing across multiple screens. Initially, the latest models from Polestar will be the first to offer these features, before progressing to other brands. 

These developments reflect a broader focus on expanding in-car entertainment, with other car manufacturers like BPD and Hyundai collaborating with Nvidia to integrate its video game streaming service, GeForce Now, into new vehicles. Tesla has also offered in-car video games, having integrated with Valve Corp.’s Steam game distribution platform last year.

Creating car apps is a complex task due to stringent worldwide safety regulations, posing a big challenge for small developers. Google mitigates this by offering pre-approved “app templates” to streamline development and ensure regulatory compliance. However, this method restricts app types and functionality, with different limitations on platforms like Android Auto and AAOS. Google allows only six types of apps: Media, Messaging, Navigation, Point of Interest, Video, and Internet of Things. Car manufacturers can include their own software, but these have to comply with safety regulations and are often designed not to work while the car is moving.

List of cars with Android Automotive

Top-down view of a Volvo EX30
Image credit: Volvo

Android Automotive remains in the early stages of adoption, meaning only a handful of models currently support this technology. As of May 2023, the following is a comprehensive list of cars equipped with Android Automotive:















Renault (Europe only)

  • Renault Austral
  • Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric
  • 2024 Renault Espace

This list is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years, with companies such as Ford and Volkswagen seeking to incorporate Android Automotive widely across their vehicle lineup, possibly in future iterations of the F-150 Lightning as well as the upcoming VW ID.2all. Meanwhile, Porsche is in discussions with Google to incorporate the system, and Mercedes-Benz is preparing to feature its own open-source version of it. By 2024, the majority of car manufacturers are anticipated to offer models equipped with the OS.

It’s important to keep in mind that manufacturers can personalize the OS’s interface to fit their needs, meaning it won’t look the same in all cars. For example, the user interface of a Polestar 2’s Android Automotive may look different from that of a GMC Hummer EV, even though both vehicles use the same OS. Just like Android phones, there are many ways that Android Automotive can be implemented – with different features, different processors, and so forth.

Cars with Google Automotive Services (GAS)

It’s also worth keeping in mind that only certain models with Android Automotive get shipped with Google Automotive Services (GAS). GAS is essentially a suite of Google apps and services made for Android Automotive, including Google Assistant, Google Maps, and the Play Store. Models without GAS won’t allow you to download third-party apps unless they’ve been approved by Google. Rivian, Lucid, Dodge, Chrysler, and BMW currently don’t support GAS.

Should I buy a car with Android Automotive?

While Android Automotive has the potential to advance in-car technology, it’s still in its primitive stages. Many of its features are comparable to Android Auto, and some apps available via phone projection may not be compatible with your version of AAOS. Users have also mentioned some issues with the system, like the interface being a bit slow or awkward to use, and the streaming quality not hitting the mark (worse than simply streaming via Bluetooth). As Android Automotive matures, it will undoubtedly offer a more advanced and feature-rich experience. Until then, it probably shouldn’t be a major consideration for most prospective car buyers.

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Android Automotive OS vs Android Auto: Wait, there’s a difference?

With technology taking center stage in modern car production, things like making calls, sending texts, and using apps from your dashboard have increasingly become the norm. In shopping for a new car, you might have heard terms like ‘Android Auto’ and ‘Android Automotive’ thrown around and assumed they’re the same thing. Sadly, Google has done us the disservice of putting the burden on our plate to shed light on the real head-scratcher of a conversation that is Android Automotive vs Android Auto.

While services like CarPlay and Android Auto rely on your phone to function, Google has taken a cue from Tesla, building an entire operating system (OS) from the ground up to ensure you’re never without internet, nor is your phone battery going to take a beating from the endless hours spent streaming music and navigating from place to place using Google Maps. On the surface, that’s the main difference: Android Auto is powered by your phone and Android Automotive is powered by the car itself.
Much like the mobile version of Android, you would find pre-installed on a Samsung Galaxy S23, for instance, Android Automotive is a standalone operating system built into the head unit in what is currently a limited selection of vehicles. Unlike CarPlay or Android Auto, it isn’t necessarily tethered to your phone, even if they share many of the same accounts to access essential apps like Google Maps and Spotify.

Android Automotive OS vs Android Auto

Image credit: Google

While Android Automotive is a dedicated OS programmed to work with a vehicle’s hardware, Android Auto is a platform within your car’s own native OS – usually developed in-house by the manufacturer – that mirrors supported apps from your phone. 

Once connected, Android Auto opens your car’s existing OS up to display certain apps from your phone – navigation, calls, music playback, what have you, without suction cupping it to your windshield or mounting it to your AC vent. Android Automotive works independently of your other devices, so you can use it even if you own an iPhone. 

Although both Android Automotive and Android Auto are both in-vehicle solutions made by Google, Android Automotive has utility outside of software alone. With it, you can use it to adjust climate controls, the sunroof, windows, mirrors, and even massage seats if you have ’em. Android Automotive is more akin to what Tesla has in its cars, an all-in-one infotainment suite with a hand in everything your car does.

A significant disparity between Android Automotive vs Android Auto is the compatibility requirements. While Android Auto necessitates you own a smartphone running Android 6.0 or later, Android Automotive is limited to just a few vehicles that arrive on the lot with it already installed – in other words, if you buy a car without it, there’s no option to add Android Automotive to your vehicle later on. But, once you have it, Android Automotive is the more reliable platform, as its services won’t be interrupted in the event your phone dies.

What is Android Automotive OS? 

Android Automotive is a version of Google’s Android OS designed specifically for vehicle infotainment systems – the big tablet or normal-sized display, depending on your make and model, sitting in your center console. 

Because we’re in an awkward stage of automotive technology where there is no uniform approach, sometimes the infotainment OS is a stand-in for HVAC controls, and in other cases, it’s not. Either way, since it’s designed to scale across many different vehicles, Android Automotive lets you adjust climate controls, organize your apps into folders, talk to Google Assistant, and more. It especially comes in handy for EV owners as it can provide accurate charge level information.
Volvo and Audi were the first auto brands to partner with Google in building Android Automotive for their next-generation vehicles. Although Google revealed Android Automotive to the public in 2017, it didn’t officially debut until the Polestar 2 came along in 2021.

What is GAS (Google Automotive Services)?

In addition to Android Automotive, some supported vehicles also ship with Google Automotive Services (GAS). In this case, you can download third-party apps found on the Google Play Store. Without GAS, Android Automotive users are limited to apps authorized by Google.

What is Android Auto? 

Android Auto is an app for Android phone users to display content from their mobile devices to the infotainment display in their cars. Often bundled with CarPlay, Apple’s iPhone equivalent, Android Auto has been a mainstay since Google announced it in 2014.

The Hyundai Sonata made history as the first model to come with Android Auto, paving the way for nearly every new model year to support it today. Google claims over 500 models are compatible with more to be added soon. Don’t expect to find Android Auto or CarPlay if you’re thinking of getting a Tesla, though. Without a warranty-defiant workaround, the House of Musk still gives drivers no choice but to use its own proprietary software. 

Android Auto gets frequent over-the-air system updates and bug fixes, always doing its best to deliver the optimal on-the-road experience for Android folks. You can use Android Auto either wirelessly or with a USB cable, though compatibility varies from car to car. Only 2020 models and newer support wireless connectivity.

Which is better – Android Automotive OS vs Android Auto?

Image credit: General Motors
After axing CarPlay and Android Auto, future GM vehicles like the Silverado EV will feature Android Automotive.

While many see Android Automotive as a replacement for Android Auto, it’s unlikely Google will discontinue the latter. Android Auto. Despite its limitations, Android Auto greatly improves the driving experience for those otherwise stuck with software designed by the manufacturer. 

On the other hand, it’s possible automakers themselves will ditch Android Auto and CarPlay in favor of full-service solutions like Android Automotive, as General Motors recently announced it’s doing, to avoid developing and maintaining their own software. Contrary to the recent backlash that decision sparked, it appears to be the inevitable next step for automakers. GM is just bearing the brunt of the outrage because it’s pushing ahead first.

If you can find a car you like within your budget that has Android Automotive already installed, it is without a doubt the more complete product. However, while the list of supported vehicles is growing, Android Automotive is still in its early days. Unless you can spend upwards of $60K before dealership fees and taxes on a brand-new set of wheels, Android Automotive isn’t an option for most people right now.

Both Android Automotive and Android Auto come in handy, but their increased adoption raises concerns about cybersecurity threats. As cars and tech evolve to become one, drivers open themselves up to unprecedented vulnerabilities. Not only do you have to worry about packing your kids’ lunch and getting to work on time, but now there’s also the risk of having your assisted driving systems hijacked by a malicious assailant. In other words, as Ubisoft predicted years ago, Watch_Dogs is one step closer to becoming real.

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