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Google introduces new changes to the Android Auto driving app ecosystem

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First of all, the Android Auto app will be discontinued, don’t worry, it won’t happen overnight, Google stated that the app will still be available in the playstore, however it won’t receive updates, in other words it’s days are numbered.

The app will be replaced by a new dashboard that will be summoned from the Google Maps application. Just say “Hey Google, let’s drive” and Google Assistant will bring up the driving mode launcher which has big sized icons of the apps you like to use while driving such as Spotify, Audible etc.

Alternatively, you can also set a preferred Bluetooth device to make the driving mode pop up once you’ve turned on your car and before you start driving. This new changes will be available on your android phone not the Android Auto available on your car’s dashboard /infotainment system. IOS devices also aren’t getting this update. In fact, this new assistant driving will be baked into Android 12, luckily Google said that phones with older versions of the OS will be able to get the new features too via an app update. Note that if you upgrade to Android 12, the Android Auto app will disappear and be replaced by the Assistant Driving mode.

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The Android Auto app on your car displays still lives on, Google announced new features coming to it. Dual-SIM Android users will be able to switch between different phone numbers, which means, Android Auto will support work profiles in the car. Users will, for instance, get details of your upcoming meeting while driving. Notifications will be read out loud if you enable this option. Voice commands will enable drivers to switch apps on screen hands free.

Another new feature will be games. Yes, games in the car display but only when the car is on P (Park) gear. They will come handy when drivers are waiting for something/ someone in their car. GameSnacks will be providing the in car games, they say it will be a helpful pass-time feature when the car is parked.

Android Auto will also help you pay for gas across several gas stations such as Exxon and Mobile for now. More gas stations are being added up including Shell. Drivers will only need to say “pay for gas,” and the Assistant will ask for your pump number before it starts the transaction within Google Pay.

Aside from the phone and dash Auto Apps, Google has partnered with several manufacturers to build Android Automotive software integrated directly into the cars hardware. This deep integration enables far superior features such as controlling vehicle instruments and HVAC. So far Ford, General Motors, Polestar, Renault, and Volvo were offering Android Automotive, Google announced Honda has joined the ranks. In 2022, Honda Civic will have the software baked in. Electric cars with the integration will get new features such as charging station locations and whether they’re readily available.

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Dennis Mathu
Dennis Mathu
I cover motoring news, gadgets, software releases, mobile apps and enterprise systems powering corporations. Contact me at [email protected] or [email protected]

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