Tag Archives: Android for cars

Android for Cars: Bringing more apps to cars

Posted by Vivek Radhakrishnan – Technical Program Manager, and Seung Nam – Product Manager

With technology in cars becoming more capable, the opportunity to deliver safe and seamless connected experiences for drivers and passengers is greater than ever. Google remains committed to the automotive industry and is seeing momentum across Android Auto and cars powered by Android Automotive OS with Google built-in. We’re excited to share updates across our in-car experiences and introduce new programs and resources to make it easier for you to bring your apps to cars. Learn more below and in the Android for Cars Technical Session.

Momentum and updates

With over 200 million cars on the road compatible with Android Auto, and nearly 40 car models like the Nissan Rogue, Renault R5, Acura ZDX, and Ford Explorer offering Google built-in, the time to bring your apps to cars is now.

Over the last year, the ecosystem of apps available across these experiences has grown – thanks to you. New entertainment apps like Max, Peacock and Angry Birds are coming to select cars with Google built-in. On Android Auto, the Uber Driver app is now available, allowing drivers to accept rides and deliveries, and get turn-by-turn directions on a bigger screen.

Image showing Angry Birds on a Volvo EX90 car display
Angry Birds is coming to select cars with Google built-in, including Volvo EX90 (pictured).

We’re also pleased to share that Google Cast is coming to cars with Android Automotive OS, starting with Rivian with more to follow. This allows you to easily cast video content from your phone or tablet directly to the car while parked. If you don’t already offer casting in your app, this is a simple way for your content to reach new audiences in the car.

Coming soon - you can stream content from apps on your phone, like Pluto TV, to Rivian cars via Google Cast.

New car app quality tiers

There are unique considerations when developing apps and experiences for cars including safety, numerous screen sizes, and more. Our priority is developing resources and tools that take these considerations into account and minimize the work needed for you to bring your apps to cars.

We’re introducing new quality tiers, inspired by those that exist for large screens, to streamline the process of bringing existing apps to cars by highlighting what makes for a great user experience in cars. Here are the tiers and what they encompass:

    • Tier 1: Car differentiated
      This tier represents the best of what’s possible in cars. Apps in this tier are specifically built to work across the variety of hardware in cars and can adapt their experience across driving and parked modes. They provide the best user experience designed for the different screens in the car like the center console, instrument cluster and additional screens - like panoramic displays that we see in many premium vehicles.
    • Tier 2: Car optimized
      Most apps available in cars today fall into this tier and provide a great experience on the car’s center stack display. These apps will have some car-specific engineering to include capabilities that can be used across driving or parked modes, depending on the app’s category.
    • Tier 3: Car ready
      Apps in this tier are large screen compatible and are enabled while the car is parked, with potentially no additional work. While these apps may not have car-specific features, users can experience the app just as they would on any large screen Android device.

To learn more about the quality tiers, see Android app quality for cars.

Car ready mobile apps program

Let’s dive deep into Tier 3 apps. In collaboration with car manufacturers, we’re introducing the Car ready mobile apps program to accelerate bringing mobile apps to cars with no additional work for developers.

As part of this program, Google will proactively review mobile apps that are already adaptive and large screen compatible to ensure safety and compatibility in cars. If the app qualifies, we will automatically opt it in for distribution on cars with Google built-in and make it available in Android Auto, without the need for new development or a new release to be created. This program will start with parked app categories like video, gaming and browsers with plans to expand to other app categories in the future.

The program will roll out in the coming months, but if you already offer a large screen compatible adaptive app and it falls into one of these categories, you can request a review to participate sooner. As this program rolls out, availability of your app will depend on platform compatibility.

To learn more about building qualified mobile apps, check out the technical session titled “Building Adaptive Android Apps”. You can find guidance on what to look out for at developer.google.com

Animation showing AMC+ app on a phone, tablet and car display.
Apps optimized for large screens, like AMC+, may be able to come to cars with little to no development work.

New tools and emulators

To create high quality experiences in cars, we are also introducing some new tools that can help you along the way.

    • First, we have a new emulator for distant and panoramic displays so developers can visualize and test for the growing sizes and number of screens in the car and make sure apps can adapt to the variety of displays for the best experience.
    • We also have a new tool that addresses the wide range of screen shapes and user interfaces (UI) present in cars. Many new car displays have unique curves, insets and angles that impact the UI, so we have an emulator that lets you change the emulator screen to match OEM screen designs. This will help ensure the apps work well on real cars without needing to set up specific OEM emulators or bringing in real cars for testing.
    • Lastly, we’re introducing an Android Automotive OS system image for Pixel Tablet. This will let you physically interact with your app as you would on a car screen. We are opening this up for early access partners for the purpose of development and testing today, and you can request to participate here.

To learn more about how to use these tools, check out the “Build and test a parked app for Android Automotive OS” codelab that will be published tomorrow.

More app categories for cars

As you consider bringing your app to cars, we put together a table to help you understand what app categories are currently open and accepting app submissions across both Android Auto and cars with Google built-in. We will continue to expand the type of apps that can be enabled in cars, so if your app isn’t in one of these categories, stay tuned for future opportunities!

Android for Cars Catergory Status

Start developing apps for cars today

To learn how to bring your apps to cars, check out the documentation on the Android for Cars developer site and the Android for Cars Technical Session. With all the opportunities across car screens, there has never been a better time to bring your apps and experiences to cars. Thanks for all the contributions to the Android ecosystem. See you on the road!

What’s new with Android for Cars: I/O 2023

Posted by Jennifer Tsau, Product Management Lead and David Dandeneau, Engineering Lead

For more than a decade, Google has been committed to bringing safe and seamless connected experiences to cars. We’re continuing to see strong momentum and adoption across Android for Cars. Android Auto is supported by nearly every major car maker, and will be in nearly 200 million cars by the end of this year. And the number of cars powered by Android Automotive OS with Google built-in — which includes top brands like Chevrolet, Volvo, Polestar, Honda, Renault and more — is expected to nearly double by the end of this year.

With cars becoming more connected and equipped with immersive displays, there’s more opportunities for developers to bring app experiences to cars. We’re excited to share updates and new ways for developers to reach more users in the car.


Apps designed for driving experiences

Helping drivers while on the road - whether they are navigating, listening to music, or checking the weather - is a top priority. We’re continuing to invest in tools and resources, including the Android for Cars App Library, to make it even easier for developers to build new apps or port existing Android apps over to cars.

New capabilities for navigation apps

Today, we announced Waze rolling out globally on the Google Play Store for all cars with Google built-in, expanding its availability beyond Android Auto. As a part of this launch, we created more templates in Android for Cars App Library to help speed up development time across a number of app categories, including navigation.

For navigation apps, it’s also now possible to integrate with the instrument cluster, providing turn-by-turn directions right in the driver's line of sight. And developers can also access car sensor data to surface helpful information like range, fuel level, and speed to provide more contextual assistance to drivers.

A car dashboard shows the Waze app open on the display panel
The Waze app is coming to all cars with Google built-in, including the first-ever Chevrolet Blazer EV launching this year.

Tools to easily port your media apps across Android for Cars

Media apps continue to be a top use case in the car, and it’s quicker than ever to bring your media apps to Android Auto and Android Automotive OS. Audible recently joined popular streaming audio apps like Deezer, Soundcloud, and Spotify to offer their apps across both Android Auto and cars with Google built-in. If you have a media app on mobile, port it over to reach new users in the car.

New app categories for driving experiences

The Android for Cars App Library now allows developers to bring new apps to cars including internet of things (IoT) and weather apps to cars. The IoT category is available for all developers, while weather is in an early access program. In the weather category, The Weather Channel app will join other weather apps like Weather & Radar later this year.

We’re also working with messaging apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Webex by Cisco to allow you to join meetings by audio from your car display in the coming months.

A car display shows a Zoom meeting schedule next to a route in Google Maps.
Coming soon, join meetings by audio from your car display.

Apps designed for parked and passenger experiences

With screens expanding in size and more being added for passengers, there is growing demand for parked and passenger experiences in cars.

Video, gaming, and browsing in cars

Now, video and gaming app categories are available in the car, with an early access program for browsing apps coming soon. YouTube is now available for car makers to offer in cars with Google built-in. And drivers of cars with Google built-in will soon have access to popular titles like Beach Buggy Racing 2, Solitaire FRVR, and My Talking Tom Friends from publishers like Vector Unit, FRVR and Outfit7 Limited. Developers can now port their large screen optimized apps to cars to take advantage of this opportunity.

A car display shows a YouTube video of an animated character singing.
YouTube is coming to cars with Google built-in, like the Polestar 2.

More screens in cars allows for new experiences between drivers and passengers, including individual and shared entertainment experiences. We're excited to announce multi-screen support is coming to Android Automotive OS 14 — stay tuned for more updates.

A car with a panoramic front display and screens in headrests showing apps and video content.
Support for multiple screens is coming to Android Automotive OS 14.

Start developing apps for cars today

To learn how to bring your apps to cars, check out the technical session, codelab and documentation on the Android for Cars developer site. With all the opportunities across car screens, there has never been a better time to bring your apps and experiences to cars. Thanks for all the contributions to the Android ecosystem. See you on the road!

Bring your IOT apps to cars

Posted by Brad Hinkel, Product Manager, Android Automotive Developer Platform

To deliver seamless experiences in cars, we’re now enabling developers to bring their internet of things (IOT) apps to cars. This will allow users to easily manage IOT systems like home security and doors directly from their car. You can now launch IOT apps to production for both Android Auto and Android Automotive OS.

IOT apps

You can start building your IOT apps for cars using driving-optimized templates from the Android for Cars App Library.

Android for Cars App Library Grid Template for IOT apps

The Automotive OS emulator for Android Automotive OS and the DHU for Android Auto allow you to easily test apps for this category. To start building your app for the car, check out our updated developer documentation, car quality guidelines, and design guidelines. For additional instructions on building IOT apps, visit here.

Drivers of cars using Android Auto can now download IOT apps developed with the Android for Cars App Library immediately from Google Play. Additionally you can join the Google Group for new beta apps and opt-in to new app's beta on the Google Play store, with your Gmail account.

Samsung SmartThings running on Android Auto

Experience for yourself how your app will look within the different systems, by accessing the OEM emulator system images downloadable in Android Studio.

To publish your app today, follow the below steps.

  1. Design your app’s experience using our developer guide and app quality guidelines.
  2. Develop using the latest release of the car app library so you can get user feedback from now.
  3. Test using the desktop head unit.
  4. Publish your app to Close or Open testing to the Google Play Store to get pre-production feedback from users.
  5. Ship your final app to cars.

We’re excited to see what you’ve built and take it for a spin!

If you’re interested in joining our Early Access Program in the future, please fill out this interest form. You can get started with the Android for Cars App Library today by visiting g.co/androidforcars.

Building apps for Android Automotive OS

Posted by Madan Ankapura, Product Manager

Today we’re announcing the availability of version 1.2 beta of the Car App Library, enabling app developers to start building their navigation, parking, and charging apps for Android Automotive OS.

Now, developers can begin building and testing apps for these categories using the Automotive OS emulator across both Android Automotive OS and Android Auto. For the entire list of changes in v1.2 beta, please see the release notes. To start building your app for the car, check out our updated developer documentation, car quality guidelines, and design guidelines.

As announced earlier, drivers of Polestar 2 and Volvo cars can now download charging (ChargePoint, PlugShare), parking (Spothero, Parkwhiz), and navigation (Flitsmeister, Sygic) apps developed with the Car App Library by joining the Google Group and opting-in to each app's beta on the Google Play store, with your Gmail account.

six spp icons

Car App Library apps on Android Automotive OS are automatically rendered to be consistent with the rest of the experience within each car, without additional work needed from developers.. For example,

Polestar 2
Volvo
Polestar 2 setting with labeled On / Off switches for PlugShare

Polestar 2 setting with labeled On / Off switches for PlugShare

Volvo settings with sliding switches for PlugShare

Volvo settings with sliding switches for PlugShare

Polestar 2 sign-in screen for SpotHero

Polestar 2 sign-in screen for SpotHero

Volvo sign-in screen for SpotHero

Volvo sign-in screen for SpotHero

Example of app customization on Android Automotive OS

Experience for yourself how your app will look within the different systems, by accessing the OEM emulator system images downloadable in Android Studio. You can begin developing your charging, parking and navigation apps for Android Automotive OS today, and we are working to enable you to publish your apps to the Google Play store in the coming months (stay tuned!).

Beyond navigation, rideshare drivers spend a lot of time in their vehicles and will benefit from safer interactions if those apps can be brought to the car’s screen. We are working with Lyft and Kakao Mobility to bring their driver app experiences into the car in the coming months.

image of car screen with gps map and Lyft logo

We are also pleased to announce that we are expanding support to all Points of Interest apps. Beyond charging and parking, this allows any app that will help users discover and search for interesting locations on a map, and optionally enable them to navigate to such points. We are partnering with MochiMochi, Fuelio, Prezzi Benzina, and NAVITIME JAPAN as our early access partners.

If you’re interested in joining our Early Access Program in the future, please fill out this interest form. You can get started with the Android for Cars App Library today, by visiting g.co/androidforcars.

Bringing richer navigation, charging, parking apps to more Android Auto users

Posted by Madan Ankapura, Product Manager

Illustration of car interior with map, parking and gas symbols

Today, we are releasing the beta of Android for Cars App Library version 1.1. Your Android Auto apps using features that require Car App API level 2+ like map interactivity, vehicle’s hardware data, multiple-length text, long message and sign-in templates, can now be used in cars with Android Auto 6.7+ (which were previously limited to Desktop Head Unit only).

Two Android Auto GIF examples. Left GIF is 2GIS and right GIF is TomTom

With this announcement, we are also completing the transition to Jetpack and will no longer be accepting submissions built with the closed source library (com.google.android.libraries.car.app). If you haven’t already, we encourage you to migrate to the AndroidX library now.

For the entire list of changes in beta01, please see the release notes. To start building your app for the car, check out our updated developer documentation, car quality guidelines and design guidelines.

If you’re interested in joining our Early Access Program to get access to new features early in the future, please fill out this interest form. You can get started with the Android for Cars App Library today, by visiting g.co/androidforcars.

Accessing car hardware APIs in your app for cars

Posted by Madan Ankapura, Product Manager

Building on our effort to enable developers to create app experiences across navigation, parking, and charging apps via Android for Cars App Library as part of Jetpack, today we’re announcing the availability of CarHardwareManager APIs as part of version 1.1 alpha02 to get developer feedback.

CarHardwareManager can be used to query the vehicle’s hardware data, such as model and make, fuel levels and other sensors. Currently, this feature is only available for Android Auto 6.7+ in the open-testing channel. Testing this in a desktop environment requires a new version of the Desktop Head Unit which will be released separately. Stay tuned here for details on when the new version becomes available.

For the entire list of changes in alpha02, please see the release notes. To start building your app for the car, check out our updated developer documentation, car quality guidelines and design guidelines. These library features are available for testing only with the Desktop Head Unit. We will announce when these features are available to run in cars in the future.

In addition, if you are a developer of a parking app, you can now integrate with Google Assistant to enable users to talk to Google to open their favorite parking app and find parking while driving.

If you’re interested in joining our Early Access Program in the future, please fill out this interest form. You can get started with the Android for Cars App Library today, by visiting g.co/androidforcars.

Improve your app mileage with Android for Cars App library

Posted by Madan Ankapura, Product Manager

In April, we announced our first version of the Android for Cars App Library as part of Jetpack, reaching a milestone to let developers publish their navigation, parking, charging apps on the Google Play Store.

Today, we’re announcing that version 1.1 is in alpha, which brings the following features to developers:

  • Sign-in template - Allows users to sign in to your app directly from the car screen while parked.
  • Long Message template - Allows you to show long messages like terms of service to users as part of the setup flow while parked.
  • Multiple-length text - Different car screen sizes may show different amounts of text. We added an API you can use to specify multiple variants of a text string in select templates to fit different screen sizes.
  • Map Interactivity - You can now add capabilities such as zooming and panning to your navigation template.
Android for Cars App library

For the entire list of changes, please see the release notes. To start building your app for the car, check out our updated developer documentation, car quality guidelines and design guidelines.

These library features are available for testing only with the Desktop Head Unit. We will announce when these features are available to run in cars in the future.

If you’re interested in joining our Early Access Program in the future, please fill out this interest form. You can get started with the Android for Cars App Library today, by visiting g.co/androidforcars.

What’s new with Android for Cars

Posted by Mickey Kataria, Director of Product Management

For over a decade, Google has been committed to automotive, with a vision of creating a safe and seamless connected experience in every car. Developers like all of you are a crucial part of helping people stay connected while on the go. We’re seeing strong momentum across our in-car experiences, Android Auto and Android Automotive OS, and today, we’re excited to share the latest updates and opportunities to reach users in the car.

Check out our I/O session: What's new with Android for Cars

Android Auto

Android Auto, which allows users to connect their phone to their car display, now has over 100 million compatible cars on the road and is supported by nearly every major car manufacturer. Porsche is our newest partner and they will begin shipping Android Auto on new cars, starting this summer with the Porsche 911.

We’ve been working closely with car manufacturers to build an even better Android Auto experience by enabling wireless projection in more vehicles, extending availability to more countries, and continuing to launch new features, like integration into the instrument cluster. To see some of the newest Android Auto technology in the BMW iX, check out the video below.

Android Auto projecting to the cluster display in a BMW iX.

Android Automotive OS

Our newest in-car experience, Android Automotive OS with Google apps and services built-in, also has strong momentum. With this experience, the entire infotainment system is powered by Android and users can access Google Assistant, Google Maps, and more apps from Google Play directly from the car screen without relying on a phone. Cars from Polestar and Volvo, like the Polestar 2 and the Volvo XC40 Recharge, are already available to customers. And by the end of 2021, this experience will be available to order in more than 10 car models from Volvo, General Motors and Renault. You can get a sneak peek of this customized experience in the new GMC HUMMER EV below.

The all-electric GMC HUMMER EV infotainment features Android Automotive OS with Google built-in. Preproduction model shown. Actual production models may vary. Initial availability Fall 2021.

Developing new apps for cars

To support this growing ecosystem, we recently made the Android for Cars App Library available as part of Jetpack. It allows developers of navigation, EV charging and parking apps to bring their apps to Android Auto compatible cars. Many of these developers have already published their Android Auto apps to the Play Store and we’re now extending this library to also support Android Automotive OS, making it easy for you to build once and generate apps that are compatible with both platforms. We’re already working with Early Access Partners — including Parkwhiz, Plugshare, Sygic, ChargePoint, Flitsmeister, SpotHero and others — to bring apps in these categories to cars powered by Android Automotive OS.

Android for cars

PlugShare, an app for finding EV chargers, has used the Android for Cars App Library and Google Assistant App Actions to build for Android Auto.

We plan to expand to more app categories in the future, so if you’re interested in joining our Early Access Program, please fill out this interest form. You can also get started with the Android for Cars App Library today, by visiting g.co/androidforcars. Lastly, you can always get help from the developer community at Stack Overflow using the android-automotive and android-auto tags. We can’t wait to see what you build next!

Start Your Engines: Launch New Android Auto Apps to Production!

Posted by Eric Bahna, Product Manager

In March, we published the Android for Cars App Library as part of Jetpack and most developers have already migrated their implementations to it! In addition to fantastic partner adoption, drivers have been enthusiastic about the new apps and our quality metrics have been positive.

Partner apps running on the Jetpack library (clockwise from upper left): T map, Chargepoint, Sygic, PlugShare, AmiGO, 2GIS, A Better Route Planner, and Flitsmeister

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that you can publish your Android Auto navigation, parking, and charging apps to production! We’ve been hard at work stabilizing the library, Android Auto, and the publishing process to reach this milestone. Publishing to production enables drivers to use your Android Auto app on their car screen without needing to sign up for a beta program. Here’s how:

Thank you for your collaboration and feedback on the Android for Cars App Library 1.0! One of the most common requests from Android Auto users has been for more categories of apps. Our goal with the library is to enable you to easily bring your app to 500+ models of Android Auto-compatible vehicles while meeting our app quality guidelines. The library abstracts away the complexities of screen form factors and input modes so you can focus on what makes your app shine.

Enabling navigation, parking, and charging apps in production is both a big step and the start of a much longer journey. We’re excited to see what you build and look forward to working together to deliver awesome in-car experiences.

Android Auto Apps Powered by Jetpack

Posted by Eric Bahna, Product Manager

In January, we enabled the Google Play Store to accept open testing submissions of navigation, parking, and charging apps. It’s great to see many of you developing Android Auto apps and sending us feedback through the issue tracker. Thank you for helping us improve the platform so we deliver better in-car experiences together! Drivers have been sending positive feedback, too, as new apps launch to open testing, like Chargemap.

Chargemap in Android Auto

Today, we’ve reached the next milestone: the Android for Cars App Library is available in Jetpack as androidx.car.app 1.0.0-beta01! The move to Jetpack makes the library open source, gives you more visibility into our feature development, and provides API consistency with other Jetpack libraries. We’ve updated the developer guide and design guidelines to cover androidx.car.app. Test your app with Android Auto 6.1, or later, then you can publish your app to open testing in the Google Play Store. androidx.car.app includes all functionality of the closed source library (com.google.android.libraries.car), and then some! For example, we added a new GridTemplate, which is useful when users rely primarily on images to make their selections.

Examples of the new GridTemplate in androidx.car.app

On September 1, 2021, the closed source Android for Cars App Library (com.google.android.libraries.car.app) will no longer be available and the Google Play Store will not accept submissions that use com.google.android.libraries.car.app. Our development focus from now, including new features, is on androidx.car.app. We encourage you to migrate now and we’ve created a migration guide that makes it easy. Migration usually takes less than a day, in our experience with early access partners.

We’re working hard to stabilize androidx.car.app and prepare the Google Play Store for production submissions. Production submissions will require androidx.car.app and you can get your app ready by using it in open testing today.