Many drivers prefer the Android Auto system over their cars infotainment system and lucky for them, Google is releasing an update for the app.
The update, which was unveiled at CES, includes not only new features but a new design as well. To begin, Google Maps has been moved closer to the driver, making it easier to see at a glance. Other changes include a new media card with improved album art display and a quick-launcher feature or dock for frequently used apps.
Google Assistant now offers suggestions such as missed call reminders, arrival time sharing, and the ability to play music and podcasts. A progress bar has also been added, allowing users to skip ahead to the next song or episode.
There are also on-screen shortcuts for replying to messages and calling favorite contacts. For uses of Google Pixel and Samsung smartphones, Android Auto will allow you to make WhatsApp calls.
The digital key feature, which allows drivers to unlock their vehicles using their phones, is being updated too. Car owners can now share a digital key with Pixel and iPhone users to let others borrow their vehicles, with Samsung and Xiaomi support coming soon. While multiple automakers offer variations of this feature, Google’s version currently only works with BMW for now with plans in place to add more car brands in the future.
The Android Automotive system, which is embedded in the core hardware of some vehicles, is also receiving an updated. Google has released an HD version of its Maps service for cars equipped with Android Automotive. The new high-definition maps will include more detailed road markings, lane-level localization, road barriers, and signs. The feature will first appear on the Volvo EX90 and Polestar 3 models, with more brands expected to follow suit soon.