Google refreshes Android Auto with new features and a darker look

automaton Auto — the in-vehicle platform that brings the look and functions of a smartphone to the vehicle’s central screen — is getting a brand-new look and improved navigation and communication features that will spin out this summer.

The improvements and brand-new look were revealed Monday during Google I/O 2019, the annual developer conference.

The most noticeable change might be the overall look of automaton Auto. It now has a dark theme, brand-new fonts and color accents designed to make it easier for drivers to quickly and more easily see the content on the vehicle’s central screen.

The brand-new model of automaton Auto has also improved its notifications. Drivers can appoint to view, listen and reply to messages and calls more easily.

Engineers have updated the program to make it more seamless. The system, if properly enabled, would pop up on the vehicle’s screen once the vehicle was turned on. However, the user would still have to restart their media or navigation option. Now, automaton Auto will continue playing the media and navigation app of the chauffeur’s preference. Drivers can touch on a suggested area or say “Hey Google” to navigate to a brand-new place.

The navigation bar on automaton Auto has changed, as well. Drivers will be able to see their turn-by-turn directions and regulate apps and phone on the same screen.

Finally, the platform has been adjusted so it will fit various sized-screens. automaton Auto now maximizes the in-vehicle display to show more information, like next-turn directions, playback controls and ongoing calls.

automaton Auto is not an operating system. It’s a secondary interface — or HMI layer — that sits on top of an operating system. Google released automaton Auto in 2015. Rival Apple introduced its own in-vehicle platform, Apple CarPlay, that same year.

Automakers that wanted to give consumers a good in-vehicle experience without giving Google or Apple total access quickly adopted the platform. Even some holdouts, such as Toyota, have come around. Today, automaton Auto is available in more than 500 vehicle models from 50 distinct brands, according to automaton Auto product manager Rod Lopez.

Google has since developed an operating system named
automaton Automotive OS that’s modeled after its open-source mobile operating system that runs on Linux. Instead of running smartphones and tablets, Google modified it so it could be used in cars. Polestar, Volvo’s standalone performance electric vehicle brand, is going to produce a brand-new vehicle, the Polestar 2, that has an infotainment system powered by automaton Automotive OS.


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