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Google’s Android is rolling out the latest version of its Android Auto infotainment system interface. It has a new user interface (UI) and some features such as a new phone-based key (digital key) feature.
Here are the details of the new Android Auto changes:
Wide interface with split screen
The infotainment screens in the cars we drive are getting bigger and bigger, so the latest Android Auto accommodates screens of all shapes, sizes, and orientations. Some premium models also come with a digital driver’s display controlled by the infotainment OS, and with the latest update, the driver’s display also offers an Android-like interface.
You’ll also get new widgets and on-screen shortcuts, as well as a split-screen layout for viewing two apps at once. For example, you can now use Google Maps and the Music app at the same time and change the music without interrupting the map directions on your screen.
digital car key
Simply put, a digital car key allows you to use your smartphone to lock, unlock, and start your car. This feature is only compatible with Google smartphones from Google Pixel 6 onwards and flagship Samsung Galaxy smartphones from model S21 onwards. You also need a car that is compatible with the car digital key. Currently, this feature is only available on BMW models, but will be extended to other car brands and models.
Communicate more efficiently and securely
The best thing about using Android Auto instead of your car’s built-in infotainment OS is that it’s an extension of your smartphone. The latest AA provides missed call alerts, provides shortcuts to your most frequently dialed contacts, and supports multiple Android phone applications including WhatsApp. You can even make WhatsApp calls without touching your smartphone.
All messages are displayed in the notification menu, but you cannot read them while the car is moving. However, when the car stops, you can respond using Google Assistant or on-screen keyboard prompts.
Safety instructions and other suggestions
Android Auto can now track how much you use your touchscreen while driving. If you’re too distracted, you’ll get a little prompt. Plus, with AA, you can quickly share your estimated arrival time and current location with your family. In an emergency, automatically send your location to emergency response services.
The list of cars compatible with Android Auto is steadily growing. All Android smartphones running Android OS 8 and higher can use Android Auto with in-car or aftermarket touchscreens that have this feature enabled. Some new cars, including some budget models, come with Android Auto-enabled touchscreen infotainment systems from the factory. For a complete list of compatible models, please see this list on Google.
The latest version of Android Auto is live and will be available as a software update for AA vehicles in the coming weeks. Similarly, improvements and features will be updated in Android-based smartphone models starting with Google and Samsung smartphones running Android 13.